EU looks set to hit US with carbon tariffs in potential escalation of trade war
- 14 December 2019
European Union member states are understood to be on course to set a carbon border tax, raising the prospect of another escalation in the ongoing fierce trade dispute with the United States, APA reports citing Sputnik.
The intention became clear at this week’s COP25 climate conference, where the international community is trying to negotiate a rulebook on how to implement the 2015 Paris agreement.
Spain’s economics minister, Nadia Calvino Santamaria, said at a press conference that she wants a carbon tariff “as soon as possible” on any country that doesn’t comply with the agreement.
“We need to ensure that climate policy does not create an unlevel playing field between those players which operate in jurisdictions which have higher standards and those that maybe do not," she said, as quoted by Politico.
European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans said the measure would be adopted as a means to “protect [European] industries”, which are forced to comply with strict greenhouse gas rules as Europe aims to become the world’s first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.
There are concerns in Brussels that if no changes are made, European-based companies might be forced to move to jurisdictions with easier environmental restrictions.
The proposed ‘carbon wall’, if built, would become a particular obstacle to the United States, one of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, which is set to withdraw from the 2015 pact next year.
The planned tariff also looks like a leaf out of Trump’s playbook: the US President imposed steel and aluminium tariffs on the EU last year to improve the trade balance and give an advantage to American manufacturers. He has also threatened massive levies on European-made aircraft, autos and agricultural goods.