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Chinese airlines stand firm over EU carbon tax

(Global Times)

09:34, May 20, 2013

China's airlines will not submit their carbon emissions data or pay any fines even if the EU chooses to punish them for not complying with its carbon taxation scheme, China's air transport trade body said Sunday.

"We will not participate in the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), submit emission monitoring data to EU member states, nor enter into talks with the EU for possible preferential terms," Chai Haibo, deputy secretary-general of the China Air Transport Association (CATA), told the Global Times Sunday.

The European Commission (EC), the executive body of the EU, said that eight Chinese and two Indian airlines are facing possible fines, media reported Thursday.

In a statement Thursday, the EC said aircraft operators responsible for over 98 percent of the 2012 aviation emissions covered by the EU ETS have successfully taken the necessary steps to comply with the EU ETS legislation.

The statement did not mention the fines the EC will potentially impose on Chinese and Indian carriers.

But the AFP reported Friday that eight Chinese airlines, including China Eastern and China Southern, could face fines of 2.4 million euros ($3.08 million) while two Indian airlines were liable for fines of 30,000 euros.

Lu Zhuping, a member of the management at China Eastern Airlines, told the Global Times Sunday that CATA will represent the company regarding the EU's carbon tax issue.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said Friday that China has always opposed the EU's unilateral move on international aviation emissions and urged the EU to handle the matter properly.

The EU's move reversed its decision in November to suspend enforcing the carbon tax on all airlines flying to and from EU airports after its carbon tax plan was opposed by more than 20 countries including China, Russia and the US.

The EU said in November it would look to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to offer a global solution in autumn.

In another high profile case, the EU said Wednesday it was ready to levy trade duties on Chinese mobile telecommunications equipment makers Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp over allegedly receiving State subsidies.

"The range of the EU's recent new moves targeting China is aimed at increasing the pressure on the Chinese government and forcing China to make more compromises at the negotiation table," Zhao Yongsheng, a visiting scholar with the Institute of European Studies of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

"Under the current economic slump, the EU's carbon taxes and other trade measures are double-edged swords, which will bring more harm to the EU than good," Zhao said.

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