China says it opposes EU airline emissions charges


AFP - China said it opposes a "unilateral" plan by the European Union to impose carbon emissions charges on all airlines in its airspace from January 1.

The comments from China's foreign ministry came after the European Union's highest court threw out a bid by US and Canadian airlines to block the introduction of the scheme, also triggering an angry response from Washington.

"We oppose the unilateral legislation imposed by the EU," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said on Thursday, at a regular briefing.

"We hope the European side will be prudent and practical, and deal with this issue appropriately through consultation with relevant parties including China."

Airlines around the world have denounced the EU plan to charge them for carbon emissions, warning it would cost the industry 17.5 billion euros ($23.8 billion) over eight years.

China has said it fears its aviation sector will have to pay an additional 800 million yuan (about $125 million) a year on flights originating or landing in Europe, and that the cost could be almost four times higher by 2020.

The tax would affect all the country's major airlines -- including Air China, China Eastern and China Southern, the China Air Transport Association (CATA) previously told AFP.

China reportedly blocked an order by Hong Kong Airlines for billions of euros' worth of Airbus aircraft earlier this year in retaliation for the EU move, underscoring the potential for a significant trade row.

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