U.S. customs and border protection agents have been directed to immediately begin detaining products imported to the U.S. that are made by or that include components made by Hoshine Silicon Industry Co. and its subsidiaries over forced labor allegations.
Acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Troy Miller announced the action in a press briefing on June 24. The action was taken under Section 1307 of the Tariff Act. Section 1307 prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, produced or manufactured, wholly or in part, in any foreign country by forced or indentured labor, including forced child labor. Such merchandise is subject to exclusion and seizure, and may lead to criminal investigation of the imported goods.
Miller said the CBP action followed an investigation into production processes that offered a “reasonable indication” of forced labor being used by Hoshine. He said the investigation revealed evidence of “intimidation and threats” and “restriction of movement” toward workers.
“We’re going to root out forced labor wherever it exists,” said Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, in announcing the action.
Earlier enforcement action for non-solar-related goods from the conflict region targeted 1,200 U.S.-bound shipments worth around $400 million. Miller said that importers who are in violation of the import restrictions could face monetary penalties.
In a related action, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security added five Chinese entities to the Entity List for “accepting or utilizing forced labor” in what it said was “the implementation of the People’s Republic of China’s campaign of repression against Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”
The action targets these entities’ ability to access commodities, software, and technology subject to the Export Administration Regulations. The action is part of a government-wide effort to take “strong action” against China’s ongoing campaign of repression against Muslim minority groups.
The entities are:
- Hoshine Silicon Industry (Shanshan) Co., Ltd.
- Xinjiang Daqo New Energy Co., Ltd.
- Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals Co., Ltd.
- Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material Technology Co., Ltd.
- Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps
The Commerce Department said the Entity List rule supplements similar designations in October 2019, June 2020, and July 2020. It said that actions have added 53 parties specifically implicated in human rights abuses of ethnic minorities from Xinjiang, and 15 of these which were implicated in human rights abuses related to forced labor of ethnic minorities from Xinjiang.
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