China 'will not accept' carbon tax on EU flights, says report

BEIJING (AFP) - China will not pay for CO2 emissions by its airlines on flights within Europe, a top civil aviation official reportedly said after the European Commission warned eight Chinese firms face fines for non-payment.

The world's second-largest economy "will not accept any unilateral and compulsory market measures," Mr Yan Mingchi, deputy director-general of the legal and regulation department at the Civil Aviation Administration of China, told an aviation forum in Beijing on Friday, the China Daily newspaper reported.

He said "airlines in developing countries should be provided with financial and technological support in their efforts at coping with the effects of climate change".

The European Commission said Friday eight Chinese and two Indian airlines face fines totalling 2.4 million euros (S$3.8 million) for not paying for their greenhouse gas emissions on flights within the bloc.

It said member states could fine the firms, including Chinese flag carrier Air China, under the terms of the EU's Emissions Trading System, which is designed to cut the carbon dioxide pollution blamed for global warming.

In a highly controversial move last year, the EU added airlines to the ETS regime, sparking howls of protest from the United States and China, which said the move breached international law.

The EC said almost all airlines had fully complied with their ETS obligations, which were consistent with international law and conventions.

However it said eight Chinese carriers, including China Airlines, China Eastern and China Southern, alongside Air India and India's Jet Airways were at fault.

The eight Chinese airlines were liable for fines of some 2.4 million euros combined while the two Indian groups owed much less, at 30,000 euros.

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