US government extends solar import ban to more companies

14 companies based in China have been added to the US’ Entity List, effectively prohibiting imports. Image: BCLinesSmith/Flickr.

The US government has added a host of new China-based solar companies to its Entity List, effectively banning imports of their products into the country.

A statement issued by the Department of Commerce confirmed that its Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) had added 34 new entities to the country’s Entity List, prohibiting the import of their products. It said 14 of these entities are based in China and had “enabled Beijing’s campaign of repression, mass detention, and high-technology surveillance” of minority groups in Xinjiang.

“The Department of Commerce remains firmly committed to taking strong, decisive action to target entities that are enabling human rights abuses in Xinjiang or that use U.S. technology to fuel China’s destabilising military modernisation efforts,” Gina Raimondo, the secretary of commerce, said.

The commerce department’s statement does not, however, provide any clarity on which companies have been added to the Entity List and at the time of publication, the BIS Export Administration Regulations (EAR) register had yet to be updated.

BIS had yet to respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.

The addition of new companies to the Entity List comes weeks after the US first confirmed that a withhold release order (WRO) had been launched to prohibit the import of solar products with alleged links to forced labour in Xinjiang, specifically targeting metallurgical silicon provider Hoshine.

It was suggested at the time that while US Customs and Border Protection – the body charged with leading and enforcing the investigation – would be extending the reach of its enforcement action, the US will not publish the details of specific companies or products at risk of detainment.

Reports of new solar companies being added to the Entity List first emerged late yesterday, with Reuters citing two sources familiar with the matter as stating that at least 10 solar companies – some of which based outside of mainland China – were to be added to the list as early as today.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.