China again says opposes 'carbon tariffs'

BEIJING, Dec 16, 2009 (AFP) - China on Wednesday reiterated its opposition to the idea of "carbon tariffs" being imposed on goods made in the developing world, calling it an unfair trade restriction that hurts poor countries.

The idea for such tariffs has been floated in the United States and Europe as a way of penalising imports from countries that do not have statutory curbs on greenhouse gas emissions, such as China.

"China firmly opposes carbon tariffs," commerce ministry spokesman Yao Jian told reporters.

He said such tariffs "restrict trade and economic development."

He added they "ignore the fact that developed and developing nations are in different stages of development and should take on different historical responsibilities and liabilities."

China is among the leading developing-country voices insisting that rich nations bear "historical responsibility" for emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change and should shoulder the burden of reducing such emissions.

The issue has led to a contentious atmosphere at global talks in the Danish capital Copenhagen on how to address climate change.

Some richer nations argue their industries are being punished by tough domestic environmental laws, which encourage the shift of polluting industries to countries with less stringent controls.

Source: AFP

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