Emerging economies share „grave concern” over EU plans for a carbon border levy

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European Union plans to impose taxes on carbon at its border are “discriminatory” and unfair to developing nations, ministers from Brazil, South Africa, India and China have warned, Euractiv’s media partner Climate Home News reports.

In a joint statement, the four nations, known as the BASIC countries, “expressed grave concern regarding the proposal for introducing trade barriers such as unilateral carbon border adjustment”.

The EU has proposed to impose a levy on carbon-intensive products imported into the union from countries which do not have a price on carbon. Its supporters argue it is necessary to avoid carbon leakage, where producers of energy-intensive products like steel, cement and aluminum move out of the EU to countries with weaker environmental regulations.

But ministers from large emerging economies described the proposal as “discriminatory and against the principles of equity and [common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities]” – a UN term meaning that developed countries, which are historically responsible for causing the climate crisis, should do more to address it than developing ones.

Byford Tsang, policy adviser at think tank E3G, told Climate Home News he believed this was the first time the group of BASIC countries had issued such a rebuke against the EU’s plan.

“It’s a reflection of the concerns that developing countries have,” he said. “All will rest on how the EU designs this proposal and whether it will consult with its partners ahead of the official launch, which is not expected until 2023”.

European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans recently told an event that if other countries moved to tax carbon on exports, then “the reason for a [carbon levy on imports]disappears”. If they don’t, he said, he would have “no hesitation what so ever” in moving forward with the plan. The EU is expected to unveil its proposal amid a climate policy package in June.

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