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Grenzausgleichsinstrumente bei unilateralen Klimaschutzmaßnahmen. Eine ökonomische und WTO-rechtliche Analyse


  • Daniel Becker

    () (Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder))

  • Magdalena Brzeskot

    () (Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder))

  • Wolfgang Peters

    () (Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder))

  • Ulrike Will

    () (Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder))



This paper examines to what extent the disadvantages of unilateral climate policy can be reduced by border adjustments. The disadvantages are primarily a competitive disadvantage for the domestic industry and the potential (over-) compensation of CO2 savings from increased emissions in other countries (carbon leakage). We investigate a CO2 tax as the climate policy tool that can be supported by a Border Tax Adjustment (BTA).

In the economic part of the analysis a partial equilibrium trade model is used to demonstrate the impact on the competitive position and on global CO2 emissions if a CO2 tax and a BTA are analyzed. It is shown that is makes a difference whether these measures are introduced separately or as a package.

In the legal part of the analysis, the WTO compatibility of a climate-policy motivated BTA is then examined. One possibility is to design a BTA that is consistent with the national treatment rule. Another one is to claim an exception based on Article XX GATT. The idea of a package solution of a CO2 tax and a BTA is reconsidered in our legal analysis. It may help to ease the justification of the proposed interventions into the world trading system.

Finally, based on the economic and legal considerations, different design options to implement a BTA are presented. One proposal is a Carbon Added Tax in combination with a BTA similar to that for the VAT. Alternatively, the calculation of the BTA could be based on the carbon footprint, which would be more ambitious from a climate policy perspective. The advantages and disadvantages of both strategies are discussed.


Diese Arbeit untersucht, inwieweit die Nachteile unilateraler Klimaschutzpolitik durch Grenzausgleichsinstrumente verringert werden können. Die Nachteile bestehen vor allem in einem Wettbewerbsnachteil für die eigene Industrie und der möglichen (Über-)kompensation von CO2- Einsparungen durch erhöhte Emissionen im Ausland (Carbon Leakage). Als klimaschutzpolitisches Instrument untersuchen wir eine CO2-Steuer, die durch einen Grenzsteuerausgleich (Border Tax Adjustment, BTA) flankiert werden kann.

Im ökonomischen Teil der Analyse wird mit Hilfe eines partialanalytischen Handelsmodells gezeigt, wie sich die Wettbewerbsposition und die globalen CO2-Emissionen verändern, wenn eine CO2-Steuer und ein BTA analysiert werden. Hierbei ergibt sich ein wichtiger Unterschied, je nachdem, ob diese Maßnahmen getrennt oder als Paket eingeführt werden.

Im juristischen Teil der Analyse wird dann die Kompatibilität mit dem Recht der Welthandelsorganisation (WTO) eines klimapolitisch motivierten BTA geprüft. Eine Möglichkeit ist, ein BTA so auszugestalten, dass das WTO-rechtliche Gebot der Inländergleichbehandung gewahrt ist. Eine weitere ist es, die Ausnahmeklausel des Art. XX GATT in Anspruch zu nehmen. Die Idee einer Paketlösung aus CO2-Steuer und BTA wird in der WTO-rechtlichen Prüfung aufgenommen und kann die Rechtfertigung der Eingriffe in das Handelssystem vereinfachen.

Schließlich ergeben sich aus den ökonomischen und WTO-rechtlichen Überlegungen verschiedene Gestaltungsmöglichkeiten für ein BTA. Vorgeschlagen wird zum einen eine Carbon Added Tax in Kombination mit einem BTA ähnlich demjenigen zur Mehrwertsteuer. Alternativ könnte auch die klimapolitisch ambitioniertere Kalkulation des BTA auf Basis des Carbon Footprint verfolgt werden. Für beide Strategien werden die Vor- und Nachteile diskutiert.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Becker & Magdalena Brzeskot & Wolfgang Peters & Ulrike Will, 2013. "Grenzausgleichsinstrumente bei unilateralen Klimaschutzmaßnahmen. Eine ökonomische und WTO-rechtliche Analyse," Discussion Paper Series RECAP15 010, RECAP15, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder).
  • Handle: RePEc:euv:dpaper:010

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Aaditya Mattoo & Arvind Subramanian & Dominique van der Mensbrugghe & Jianwu He, 2009. "Reconciling Climate Change and Trade Policy," Working Papers 189, Center for Global Development.
    2. Aichele, Rahel & Felbermayr, Gabriel, 2012. "Kyoto and the carbon footprint of nations," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 336-354.
    3. Steve Charnovitz, 2007. "The WTO's Environmental Progress," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(3), pages 685-706, September.
    4. Paul-Erik Veel, 2009. "Carbon Tariffs and the WTO: An Evaluation of Feasible Policies," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 749-800, September.
    5. Daniel Gros, 2009. "Global Welfare Implications of Carbon Border Taxes," CESifo Working Paper Series 2790, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Henrik Horn, 2006. "National Treatment in the GATT," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 394-404, March.
    7. repec:dau:papers:123456789/10971 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Anger, Niels & Alexeeva-Talebi, Victoria & Löschel, Andreas, 2008. "Alleviating Adverse Implications of EU Climate Policy on Competitiveness: The Case for Border Tax Adjustments or the Clean Development Mechanism?," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-095, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    9. Grossman, Gene M., 1980. "Border tax adjustments: Do they distort trade?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 117-128, February.
    10. Ian Sheldon, 2011. "Is There Anything New about Border Tax Adjustments and Climate Policy?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(2), pages 553-557.
    11. Roland Ismer & Karsten Neuhoff, 2007. "Border tax adjustment: a feasible way to support stringent emission trading," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 137-164, October.
    12. Benn McGrady, 2009. "Necessity Exceptions in WTO Law: Retreaded Tyres, Regulatory Purpose and Cumulative Regulatory Measures," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 153-173, March.
    13. Ben Lockwood & John Whalley, 2010. "Carbon‐motivated Border Tax Adjustments: Old Wine in Green Bottles?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(6), pages 810-819, June.
    14. Michael Ming Du, 2011. "The Rise of National Regulatory Autonomy in the GATT/WTO Regime," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 639-675, September.
    15. Jean-Marc Burniaux & Jean Chateau & Romain Duval, 2013. "Is there a case for carbon-based border tax adjustment? An applied general equilibrium analysis," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(16), pages 2231-2240, June.
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    More about this item


    Leakage; Border Tax Adjustment; Carbon Added Tax; Carbon Footprint; World Trade Organization;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F18 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Environment
    • K33 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - International Law

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