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What's good for the goose ...

- Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Over the last week, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been talking up the potential for carbon tariffs to become a feature in international trade, and the risk they pose to Australian businesses in the event Australia does not implement the CPRS in advance of the Copenhagen Climate Summit.

In two recent interviews, the Prime Minister has highlighted the 'carbon tariff' risk. In an interview with Steve Price on Radio 2UE on August 14th the Prime MInister stated ... " .. A number of economies are already beginning to talk around the world about taking punitive action against any other economy which refuses to act on climate change. That is, if in Australia we just said “all too hard, all too difficult, we’re not going to do this”, then, what you can already see rolling down the railroad tracks towards us is a series of punitive tariffs against exports from countries like Australia if we refuse to act.".

At the Australian Industry Groups Annual Dinner in Canberra, the Prime Minister repeated the warning. The ABC reports of his comments is as follows;

But Mr Rudd offered a climate warning of his own, targeted specifically to the business community, if the emissions trading scheme is not approved. "We'll be denying Australia a whole new set of economic opportunities for the future," he said. "We'll be also inviting the possibility of punitive tariffs being imposed on this economy in the future by other economies which join the cap-and-trade system of the future."

This raises an interesting question. If Australia does proceed to pass and then implement the CPRS, will or should the Australian Government impose carbon tariffs on imports from nations that do not have a similar emissions policy in place ?

Tim C commented on 01-Sep-2009 08:32 AM
And while Mr Rudd recognises that tariff penalties should apply to those who do not meet carbon reduction targets, perhaps he could also do the same as described to other countries, but also lets go the whole hog and not be hyprocritical.
Why should there not be tariff protection against countries which use underpaid labour, those with low workplace safety records, those who produce cheap low quality products that need to be completely replaced often as repair is impractical, thus wasting energy, resources and creating landfill pollution. What about the food standards that Australian producers are compelled to adhere to by the Australian Government, yet food produced under low standards and methods is imported to compete without having to meet the costs of higher standards!

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