Aug 27, 2021 - World

U.S. blocks Chinese solar panel imports over forced labor concerns

Photo of a row of solar panels on farmland

Solar panels. Photo: Tao Liang/Xinhua via Getty Images

U.S. Customs and Border Protection started detaining solar panel imports from Chinese companies that allegedly source products from Xinjiang forced labor, Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: China is the supply chain leader for solar energy equipment, but concerns over human rights violations led the Biden administration to order a ban in June.

  • Yes, but: It could cause significant disruptions to planned projects across the U.S, industry leaders tell the Post.

Worth noting: President Biden is aiming to boost the domestic solar sector from 3% of electricity generation today to more than 40% by 2035.

The big picture: Recent investigative reports have outlined the Chinese government's enforcement of coercive state labor programs in Xinjiang, where Uyghurs and other minorities are the targets of a genocidal campaign.

  • The Senate passed a bill last month banning all products from Xinjiang.
  • Federal agencies have also warned firms operating in Xinjiang that they run a "high risk" of violating U.S. laws on forced labor.
Go deeper