FT: “WTO signals backing for border taxes”

Fiona Harvey for the Financial Times:

Countries implementing cap-and-trade systems for greenhouse gases may be able to use border taxes to protect domestic industries, after the World Trade Organisation gave a cautious nod to such measures.

In a report to be published today, written jointly with the United Nations Environment Programme, the WTO said it was possible to implement border measures for environmental reasons under its rules.

“Rules permit, under certain conditions, the use of border tax adjustments on imported and exported products,” said the WTO. “The objective of a border tax adjustment is to level the playing field between taxed domestic industries and untaxed foreign competition by ensuring that internal taxes on products are trade neutral.”