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China considering restrictions on polysilicon, wafer exports

A polysilicon factory in China
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China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) announced that they are planning to revise the country’s Catalogue of Technologies Prohibited and Restricted for Export.

In a joint statement, the two ministries said that three technologies related to the PV manufacturing industry may be included in the catalog – wafers, black silicon, and ingot casting.  If these three categories are added to the restriction list, manufacturers will have to require a technology export license from the respective provincial departments for exporting these products.

China accounted for over 98% of global wafer production for the solar industry in 2021, according to reports from the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA). Although this plan is still in a phase of public consultation, this attempt shows the country’s ambition to protect its most advanced solar technology and maintain the competitiveness of its solar industry.

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“Such technology-related export restrictions are nothing new,” Frank Haugwitz – Senior Advisor, Apricum Cleantech Advisory – told pv magazine. “The last version of this list was published in August 2020 but it took a good two years to come into effect after the consultation process was completed.”

“Basically, the intention is clear, which means China wants to keep its ‘lead’ in this part of the value chain, Haugwitz further explained. “At the same time, if you take into account the years of significant investment in wafer R&D, this may not be surprising. On the one hand, it affects plant manufacturers, but also producers who may be considering setting up wafer production in other regions. In other words, such a technology transfer abroad would also be subject to such restrictions.”

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Source: pv magazine