Wednesday, 4 Aug 2021

Democrats to Propose a Border Tax Based on Countries’ Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Senators will introduce a plan on Monday to tax iron, steel and other imports from countries without ambitious climate laws.


By Lisa Friedman

WASHINGTON — Democratic lawmakers on Monday will make public a plan to raise as much as $16 billion annually by imposing a tax on imports from China and other countries that are not significantly reducing the planet-warming pollution that they produce.

The tax would be levied regardless of whether Congress passed new laws to reduce emissions created by the United States. It would be designed to be approximately equivalent to the costs faced by American companies under state and federal environmental regulations.

Experts said a border carbon tax would almost certainly provoke America’s trading partners and could create serious diplomatic challenges ahead of United Nations climate negotiations set for November in Glasgow.

But Senator Chris Coons of Delaware and Representative Scott Peters of California, Democrats who intend to announce the plan on Monday, said American companies deserved protection as the Biden administration moved forward with aggressive policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by burning fossil fuels.

“We must ensure that U.S. workers and manufacturers aren’t left behind and that we have tools to assess global progress on climate commitments,” Mr. Coons said.

The plan comes a week after the European Union proposed its own carbon border tax on imports from countries with lax pollution controls.

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