The White House announced a ban on imports from China of polysilicon, a crucial component in many solar and electrical products. Most of the world’s polysilicon comes from Xinjiang, China, where the United States and other European countries have accused China of forced labor and other abuses. Among the companies banned was Hoshine Silicon Industry Co., one of China’s largest polysilicon producers. Over the past 2.5 years, the United States has imported over $150 million worth of finished goods and $6 million of the raw component from Hoshine alone. On Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian hit back at the U.S., calling the move “sinister” and intended to “contain China,” saying China will “take all necessary measures” to protect Chinese companies.
U.S. lawmakers also expressed concern over China’s interest in joining the CPTPP, in a hearing on Asia-Pacific trade this Tuesday. Senator Tom Carper, who chairs the Senate finance subcommittee on international trade, called on Congress to “take China’s interest seriously and begin the hard work of developing a comprehensive policy toward re-engagement with our allies in this part of the world.” China announced it had met with officials from Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand about joining the trade pact, although details were left unclear.
The regional trade deal, which was originally proposed during the Obama administration, was intended to function as a counterbalance to China’s growing trade power. But after Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2017, the pact went on to be revised and renamed without U.S. presence. Several U.S. legislators are now calling on Washington to re-engage with the pact, and have also asked U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to provide direction on how to reassert U.S. influence in Asia.
Credits: China US focus