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China protests EU shipping carbon tax

(Xinhua)

08:04, March 02, 2012

BEIJING, March 1 (Xinhua) -- China on Thursday called on the European Union (EU) to take seriously the concerns of the international community on its carbon emissions charges, warning the 27-nation bloc not to complicate the matter.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the appeal at a regular press briefing in response to a question regarding the EU Commission's plan to impose carbon emissions tax on sea transportation from June this year.

"China, like many other countries, is firmly opposed to the EU's unilateral legislation on carbon tax," Hong said. "The truth is that the unilateral move is unpopular, and is unlikely to meet the EU's expectations."

He said the carbon tax issue on air and sea transportation should be solved within a multilateral framework through thorough consultation.

"[The settlement of the issue] should not be separated from the legal framework of the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. Meanwhile, it should not violate the principle of 'common but differentiated responsibilities' and fair spirit," the spokesman said.

Hong urged the EU side to commit itself to solving the matter instead of complicating it.

On Jan. 1 this year, the EU began charging airlines using EU airports for carbon emissions based on its Emission Trading Scheme (ETS).

Under the scheme, it is estimated that around 4,000 airlines will pay the EU for pollution permits, rendering the ETS one of the widest-reaching emission-regulative measures adopted by any country or regional bloc.

The move aroused strong opposition from many governments. A total of 29 countries signed a joint declaration in Moscow on Feb. 22 opposing the EU's carbon tax plan.

The declaration specifies a variety of measures intended to be used against the ETS, including allowing any country to introduce measures in line with national laws to either completely scrap the ETS or postpone it.

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