Decrying calls for a carbon tax on imported goods as trade protectionism, Assistant Minister of Finance Zhu Guangyao said the Chinese government is firmly against the idea, adding that it violates World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations.
At a press conference Tuesday, Zhu and several senior officials explained China's stance on major issues such as climate change and the recovery of the economy, topics being discussed later this month in New York and at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Developed countries, such as the US and France, have threatened to levy carbon tariffs on goods imported from developing countries thought to be unequipped with stringent environmental laws.
A provision in the US Clean Energy Security Act requires the president, starting in 2020, to impose a tariff on certain goods from countries that do not act to limit their carbon emissions, which contribute significantly to global warming. The provision was passed by the US House of Representatives in June and is up for a vote by the US Senate next month.
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy recently called for a European carbon tax on imported goods.
A carbon tariff would tax consumers for carbon emitted in producing goods they purchase, wherever the goods are produced.
"We hope that certain developed countries will refrain from (imposing a carbon tax) that will not benefit them and will hurt the interests of other countries," Zhu said.
The prospect of a carbon tax has prompted Chinese economists to think of countermeasures.