US restricts silica and polysilicon imports

June 25, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
US restricts silica and polysilicon imports
The US government has restricted imports of silica from Hoshine Silicon in China it says are the result of slave labour.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a Withhold Release Order yesterday against Hoshine Silicon Industry Co. Ltd. in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The Uyghur minority in the region has been widely reported to be forced to work in camps.

The Withhold Release Order instructs personnel at all U.S. ports of entry to immediately begin to detain shipments containing silica-based products made by Hoshine and its subsidiaries. These products include polysilicon in solar panels.

This is one reason why there is increased focus on perovskite materials for solar cell production in the US and Europe.

While Hoshine said it did not export polysilicon to the US, the CBP said there was $6m of direct imports from Hoshine and $150 million of downstream products using Hoshine materials over the last two years. More importantly, eight polysilicon manufacturers that account for over 90 percent of solar-grade polysilicon have all been mentioned by Hoshine as customers in reports.

“As President Biden made clear at the recent G7 summit, the United States will not tolerate modern-day slavery in our supply chains,” said US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. “This Withhold Release Order demonstrates we continue to protect human rights and international labor standards and promote a more fair and competitive global marketplace by fulfilling the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ending forced labour.”

“Forced labour is a human rights abuse that hurts vulnerable workers, weakens the global economy, and exposes consumers to unethically made merchandise,” said Troy Miller, CBP Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner. “CBP will continue to set a high global standard by aggressively investigating allegations of forced labor in U.S. supply chains and keeping tainted merchandise out of the United States.”   

The order was issued after an investigation into silica-based products imported into the United States from the Xinjiang region. During the investigation, CBP identified two


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