News / Asia

China Says It Won’t Pay EU Air Tax

An Air China plane on the tarmac of the Beijing Capital International Airport (File)
An Air China plane on the tarmac of the Beijing Capital International Airport (File)
Dominic Laurie

China’s largest airlines could soon be prevented from flying to European airports after their trade agency said they wouldn’t pay a new EU emissions tax. On New Year’s Day, the 27-  country bloc began levying a carbon tax on flights landing or taking off at their airports. Airlines or countries who don’t comply can be fined - or even banned from flying into the EU.

The European Union has long seen itself as leading the fight against global warming. And its emissions trading scheme - where companies have to pay a fee for the right to pollute - is the cornerstone of its policies.

Started seven years ago, the plan only targeted the utilities and heavy industry sectors. However, from the beginning of the year, all airlines that fly into or out of an EU airport have to pay - whether those airlines are registered in Europe or not. The amounts increase over the next few years.

The measure has faced stiff opposition from the U.S., India and elsewhere But now the agency, which represents the four main Chinese flag carriers, says it won’t pay the fees.

The association estimates the scheme will cost Chinese airlines $120 million in the first year and more than triple that by 2020.

China Says It Won’t Pay EU Air Tax
China Says It Won’t Pay EU Air Tax

Chinese Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei backed up the transport agency, saying it was concerned about what it called the EU’s “unilateral” move. It hinted it could form an alliance with other nations opposed to the plan.

"Many countries are against the European Union's actions," he said. "We hope that Europe can take a cautious and realistic attitude and act carefully and properly consult related parties including China to resolve this issue."

The penalties for non-compliance are severe. Fines of almost $130 for each ton of carbon dioxide emitted - and in the case of persistent offenders, the EU has the right to ban airlines from its airports.

Thursday in Brussels, the EU’s Climate spokesman Isaac Valero-Ladron said the Commission was happy to negotiate and talk to countries that had concerned - but maintained it stood by its new law.

"Our law breaches no principles of international law. And it does not breach the principle of sovereignty," said Valero-Ladron. "If they Chinese want to do business in Europe - like open a restaurant or something - they have to comply with health and safety requirements. This is not that different. If you want to operate in Europe, you have to respect the law."

There could be room for negotiation. Countries can choose to pay not directly into the scheme - but by "equivalent measures". Those could be other forms of carbon reduction, rather than the purchase of permits under the EU plan.

"It's a measure which a country feels most comfortable with" the EU spokesman said Thursday in conciliatory language. However, the EU introduced its policy after being frustrated by more than a decade of debate with no action at the United Nations. It will be extremely reluctant to back down. But China might soon find some allies. A draft law in the U.S. Congress proposes to make it illegal to comply.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid