Moscow: 29 nations sign declaration against EU Emissions Trading System

Several countries, including China and the US, have joined Russia in signing a joint declaration against the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) carbon tax on foreign carriers, which took effect Jan.1 this year.

The declaration was signed at the Moscow international conference by Armenia, Argentina, Republic of Belarus, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, China, Cuba, Guatemala, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda and the US.

China has formally banned its airlines from participating in the scheme without government approval.

The declaration also listed several retaliatory measures that included filing a complaint with ICAO, prohibiting airlines from participating in the EU ETS, mandating EU carriers to submit flight details and other data, assessing whether the EU ETS is consistent with the WTO agreements, and reviewing bilateral air services agreements. Other countermeasures include suspending negotiations that enhance operating rights for EU airlines and imposing additional levies on EU carriers.

It also gives other countries the latitude to create other retaliatory measures in compliance with their own legislative bases.

Russian deputy minister for transport Valeriy Okulov said Russia is planning to prohibit its local carriers from paying for emissions. The declaration could pass in the first half of 2012.

Okulov also said that Russia could reinstate overflight fees on routes over Siberia. The fees were introduced by the Soviet Union in 1986 to compensate for traffic that Aeroflot lost to foreign carriers. The payments were made part of bilateral air services agreements between member states and the Russian Federation. In 2006, the EU and the Russian Federation agreed to phase out costly Siberian overflight fees by 2013.

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