Italy joins French calls for EU carbon tariff

Published: 16 April 2010 | Updated: 19 April 2010

France and Italy urged the European Union on Thursday (15 April) to impose carbon tariffs on countries that are not part of a global agreement to curb greenhouse gases, an idea opposed by the European Commission and other EU members.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said in a letter to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso that the Commission should include the measures in a report due in June on carbon-emitting sectors.

Some EU members are worried that their industries, which pay for permits to emit carbon dioxide, will lose out to cheaper imports from countries that impose no such charges.

“European law […] foresees the possibility of including importers in the European system for trading emission quotas,” Sarkozy and Berlusconi said in the joint letter.

“The Commission report should define the conditions in which such an adjustment mechanism should be applied to EU borders.”

Germany last year criticised the idea of carbon tariffs as “eco-imperialism”, saying they would be a direct violation of World Trade Organisation rules.

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