Trade Wars

Xinjiang polysilicon ban aims to promote Biden’s national agenda


Editor’s Note: Bradley Blankenship is an American journalist, political analyst and independent reporter based in Prague. The article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of CGTN.

According to various sources, the administration of US President Joe Biden is considering a ban on imports of polysilicon from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region due to alleged human rights violations and forced labor that would allow customs and US border protection to seize the key component of the solar panel if they believe it. was made from forced labor.

Such a move by the Biden administration has nothing to do with alleged human rights violations but everything to do with complementing the US Jobs Plan, a proposed $ 2 trillion infrastructure spending. dollars that would aim, among other things, to make the United States more competitive on the world stage. clean energy market. This was made clear in a USA Today editorial written by Jennifer Granholm, the current US Secretary of Energy.

Granholm noted in his article that “China has invested across the country to make 21st century products, from electric vehicle batteries and solar panels to semiconductors. Meanwhile, the United States has simply become more dependent on other countries to provide the ingredients for our cars, our phones, our lives. ”

“Not anymore,” she continued. “To reclaim our competitiveness, the Biden administration is proposing a new approach to building the future of clean energy in America.”

Former Pennsylvania congressman Ron Klink also recently asserted in an editorial for Newsweek that “we will not achieve President Biden’s vision of rebuilding our middle class unless we rebuild American manufacturing.”

“If we are truly to build back better, all American wind turbines and solar panels must be built with Made in America components that will allow us to create more high-wage American manufactured products in our great country,” he said. -he writes.

A facility of GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd. in Changji, China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, March 2, 2021. / Getty

A facility of GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd. in Changji, China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, March 2, 2021. / Getty

These two takes, including one by an official in the Biden administration, reflect Washington’s outdated thinking. Instead of accepting the reality that the United States has probably already lost an uphill battle over clean energy development, it is trying to shake up the market with frivolous sanctions based on a non-existent moral foundation.

Given that Xinjiang currently supplies around half of the world’s polysilicon supply, disrupting this crucial supply chain would actually further undermine human rights around the world if we can all agree that people living in a hospital environment are indeed a human right.

Admittedly, this tactic on the American side is not entirely new. Over the past decades, China has made pragmatic efforts to establish a highly efficient and innovative end-to-end solar energy supply chain that has eclipsed anything comparable to the United States. The result is crushing tariffs imposed by Presidents Barack Obama, Donald Trump and potentially soon Joe Biden as well.

Beijing’s success in solar power is due to the dedication of its policymakers, which stands in stark contrast to the way things have been done on this and many other issues in Washington. Previous administrations and congresses have only used solar power as an electoral coup, promising jobs, encouraging short-term incentives, and enacting policies that remove trade barriers – all without a serious strategy to jointly bolster the market. Offer and demand.

For Biden, this must be a clear warning of what will happen if he chooses to follow the same path as his predecessors. But, already, things show no clear signs of change. The US Congress is stuck in a permanent stalemate on basic issues, even struggling to pass the US jobs plan or flatten green energy tax credits. Meanwhile, China’s progress in green energy continues unabated.

An American ban on polysilicon produced in Xinjiang would make no fundamental difference in this trajectory but would inevitably backfire on American workers, as has often been the case with trade wars started by the United States. Instead, Biden should focus on keeping his national agenda in the national arena by working on the myriad of green energy legislative issues being stopped in Congress right now and excluding Chinese producers.

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