Saying no to taxes

Published: Sunday 31 March 1996

INFLICTING eco-taxes may not be the right way to curb pollution, the European Commission has declared. In its policy paper on trade and environment released in the last week of February, it says that "Economic performance and environmental performance are not incompatible". More in favour of ecodeals, it believes that trading partners should be in favour of multilateral environmental agreements which should be operated under a set of globally agreed framework of rules.

The Commission believes that countries should determine the best environmental protection they deem fit and incorporate the same which will improve resource efficiency, competitiveness and employment. While it is vital to protect the environment, eco-taxes may not be the right answer. At the same time, the paper adds that policy-makers have to ensure that environmental protection rules cannot be abused for trade protectionist purposes. The paper gives credence to the eco-measures in place currently like voluntary eco- labelling schemes and , recycling. Reportedly, the environmental industry is worth nearly us $250 billion a year and has a growth rate of nearly eight per cent a year.

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