China Takes Hard Stance on EU’s Airline Emissions Charges

It looks like it could begin a trade war — in airplanes. China has announced that it may impound European Union airplanes in retaliation if the EU seizes their planes because China won’t comply with the EU’s draconian carbon emissions data and trading system.

The EU has imposed a carbon tax on emissions including those from foreign airplanes that land or take off from the EU. What’s really astonishing is that the charges would be made on all emissions from the whole trip, that is, is a plane took off from Beijing and landed in Frankfurt, Germany, the airline would pay the tax for the emissions during the 4,863-mile journey.

According to the EU’s mandate, countries had until March 31 of this year to submit data on their carbon emissions. But Chinese airlines said they are not going to collect and hand over the data.

The news report quoted a Chinese official of their air transport association:

“Chinese airlines are unanimous on this. We won’t provide the data,” said Wei Zhenzhong, secretary general of the China Air Transport Association, on the sidelines of an International Air Transport Association (IATA) meeting in Beijing.

Wei said China “would try to avoid any trade war”, but is prepared to retaliate if its state carriers –?Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines – are penalised.

CEI has covered this story here, here and here, and has noted that with airlines’ faltering in this stagnating economy, adding more taxes could bring some closer to the brink.