July 3, 2009

China, India in Opposition to Proposed US Carbon Tariffs

China has been outspoken in its concern over possible carbon tariffs being imposed on exports, stating that the move would represent a breach of guidelines put in place by the World Trade Organization.

Yao Jian, spokesman of China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC), told Xinhua that the proposals "would seriously hurt the interests of developing countries and trigger disputes in international trade."

"This will not help strengthen confidence that the international community can cooperate to handle the (economic) crisis, it also will not help any country's endeavors during the climate change negotiations, and China is strongly opposed to it," according to an online statement from the MOC.

Former French President Jacques Chirac first proposed carbon tariffs as a way to raise the duties on imports from countries that are not making the same effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions as their international peers.

The US, Canada and the European Union have created proposals that would involve the use of carbon tariffs.

However, China's approach involves the standard of holding "common but differentiated responsibilities" among nations.

China's opposition to such an initiative comes just one week after Congress passed the Clean Energy and Security Act, which involves the concept of "carbon equalization" provisions that would begin in 2025, according to Reuters.

Also, an unnamed Indian climate official responded to the new US legislation saying: "We are completely surprised and rather dismayed by the development. This is an attempt to bring trade and competitiveness into environmental negotiations."

"This is the quid pro quo for cap-and-trade, but the international community can't be held down by the domestic political compulsions of President Obama," he told Reuters.

"This is completely unacceptable. It will completely derail the Copenhagen process, which is already at a complicated stage and completely gridlocked right now," said Sunita Narain, head of New Delhi-based Center for Science and Environment.

"To put out carbon tariff policies during the economic crisis and ahead of the annual climate change conference this year is not timely," Yao said. "It doesn't strengthen faith in the international community's cooperation against the crisis."


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