EU Incoming Trade Commissioner Say No to Carbon Tariffs
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The incoming trade commissioner of the European Union (EU) Karel De Gucht rejected on Tuesday the idea of imposing carbon tariffs on imports mainly from developing countries, warning the measure could trigger a trade war.
"I don't see that as the right approach-- its one that will lead to lots of practical problems," De Gucht said in a confirmation hearing at the European Parliament.
"The big risk is that it will also lead to an escalating trade war on a global level," the would-be trade commissioner said
Although preservation of the environment and climate should be taken into account in EU trade policy, De Gucht said the bloc should find other approaches and policies which were in tune with market laws.
The concept of "carbon tariffs," initially proposed by former French President Jacques Chirac, has been echoed by the United States, Canada and a few member states of the EU. They proposed imposing carbon tariffs on goods from countries that are regarded as not making real efforts to reduce emissions.
Developing countries, including China and India have strongly rejected the proposed carbon tariffs, reasoning that the measure ignored the fact that developing and developed countries were in different stages of development and should shoulder different responsibilities and obligations in fighting climate change.
To date, taxing carbon emissions has been confined to domestic behavior in most countries as a way to better protect the environment, urge manufacturers and people in the country to cut down emissions and save energy, and help shape public awareness of environmental protection.
Some experts worry about that, once carbon tariffs are implemented, it might be used by countries in foreign trade as a way to shelter local enterprises from foreign competition.
(Xinhua News Agency January 13, 2010)