Essay by Eric Worrall
h/t ResourceGuy; Will President Biden’s Green Revolution be built on the blood of persecuted Chinese minorities? President Biden has moved to suspend restrictions imposed by the US Commerce Department, after tariffs were imposed following an accusation that Chinese manufactured components are being secretly incorporated into third party products.
Solar stocks jump after Biden administration announces tariff suspensions
President Joe Biden declared a 24-month tariff exemption for solar panel products from several Southeast Asian nations, and announced the use of the Defense Production Act to promote domestic production.
The tariffs had received increased criticism in recent months as the war in Europe has driven up energy prices around the world.
Solar energy stocks soared Monday after a report that the Biden administration will suspend tariffs on solar panel components from four countries.
President Joe Biden declared a 24-month tariff exemption for solar panel products from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, and announced the use of the Defense Production Act to promote domestic production. The news was first reported by Reuters. The move comes as a Commerce Department investigation into the solar industry in Southeast Asia has added more hurdles to importing equipment.
“We believe the announcement will be a clear positive for our coverage, particularly within the utility-scale solar market, which has faced uncertainty since the US Department of Commerce’s AD/CVD investigation was launched in late-March,” JPMorgan analyst Mark Strouse said in a note to clients.
…Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2022/04/24/will-bidens-commerce-department-really-punish-solar-in-asia/
The US Commerce Department opened the investigation because of an accusation from a US solar manufacturer Auxin Solar, a minority and women led company, that companies in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam were selling solar assemblies to the USA, constructed from components manufactured by Chinese companies subject to tariff restrictions.
The tariffs were imposed because of accusations of dumping – state subsidies to allow Chinese companies to undercut other manufacturers. But the USA also banned imports of solar panels manufactured using suspected forced labor – people China has allegedly forced into concentration camps and slave labor, as part of their alleged effort to eradicate minority cultures the Chinese Communists believe are a threat to the state.
For anyone who doubts something very bad is happening in China, there was a recent leak of hacked Chinese documents, allegedly China’s own meticulous internal records of their human rights violations and cruelty.
Xinjiang, the heart of the alleged forced labor concentration camp horror, is a major manufacturer of cheap solar components. Manufacturers of solar panels need lots of high quality coal and a big industrial base to process the silicon, and Xinjiang has both. Vast amounts of coal are consumed by the chemical process which reduces quartz to silicon, and further coal is required to fuel the furnaces which heat the raw materials to the temperature required to initiate and sustain the chemical reaction which refines the silicon.
So while nobody has directly accused Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand of using slave labor manufactured solar components, why wouldn’t they? Any companies which are concealing their use of Chinese components for the sake of higher profits are already likely committing a crime. Criminals rarely have scruples about workers rights – and Xinjiang manufactured solar components are some of the cheapest available.
President Biden’s suspension of tariffs in my opinion sends a shocking message to the world. In my opinion Biden’s circumvention of the investigative processes of his own commerce department effectively aids and abets any crimes which foreign suppliers of solar panels are committing, and is a real kick in the teeth for US based manufacturers like Auxin Solar, who are attempting to build a US business which is based on treating their workers with dignity.
Biden has effectively just told the world that his administration simply doesn’t care.