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How Large are the Impacts of Carbon Motivated Border Tax Adjustments

  • Yan Dong
  • John Whalley

This paper discusses the size of impact of carbon motivated border tax adjustments on world trade. We report numerical simulation results which suggest that impacts on welfare, trade, and emissions will likely be small. This is because proposed measures use carbon emissions in the importing country in producing goods similar to imports rather than carbon content in calculating the size of barriers. Moreover, because border adjustments involve both tariffs and export rebates, it is the differences in emissions intensity across sector rather than emissions level which matters. Where there is no difference in emissions intensities across sectors, Lerner symmetry holds for the border adjustment and no relative effects occur. In our numerical simulation analyses border tax adjustments accompany carbon emission reduction commitments made either unilaterally , or as part of a global treaty and to be applied against non signatories. We use a four-region (US, EU, China, ROW) general equilibrium structure which captures energy trade and has endogenously determined energy supply so that global emissions can change with policy changes. We calibrate our model to 2006 data and analyze the potential impacts of both EU and US carbon pricing at various levels, either along with or without carbon motivated BTAs policies on welfare, emissions, trade flows and production. Results indicate only small impacts of these measures on global emissions, trade and welfare, but the signs of effects are as expected. BTAs alleviate leakage effects as expected. In trade impacts, compared with no BTAs, BTAs reduce imports of committing countries, and increase imports by other countries. EU and US BTAs against China reduce exports by China. With BTAs, the value of production in the country with carbon reduction measures are introduced increases, and other country's production decreases compared with the case of no BTAs. With the contraction of world trade flows caused by the financial crisis, carbon motivated BTAs offer a prospect of a compounding effect in a world which is going protectionist and decarbonized at the same time, but the added effects of BTAs seems small.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15613.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15613.

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Date of creation: Dec 2009
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Publication status: published as Yan Dong & John Walley, 2012. "How Large Are The Impacts Of Carbon Motivated Border Tax Adjustments?," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 3(01), pages 1250001-1-1.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15613
Note: EEE ITI
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  1. Fischer, Carolyn & Fox, Alan K., 2009. "Comparing Policies to Combat Emissions Leakage: Border Tax Adjustments versus Rebates," Discussion Papers dp-09-02, Resources For the Future.
  2. Ben Lockwood & John Whalley, 2008. "Carbon Motivated Border Tax Adjustments: Old Wine in Green Bottles?," NBER Working Papers 14025, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Aaditya Mattoo & Arvind Subramanian & Dominique van der Mensbrugghe & Jianwu He, 2009. "Reconciling Climate Change and Trade Policy," Working Papers 189, Center for Global Development.
  4. Krauss, Melvyn B & Johnson, Harry G, 1972. "The Theory of Tax Incidence: A Diagrammatic Analysis," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 39(156), pages 357-82, November.
  5. Philippe Quirion & Damien Demailly, 2006. "Leakage from climate policies and border tax adjustment:lessons from a geographic model of the cement industry," CIRED Working Papers halshs-00009337, HAL.
  6. Shoven, John B & Whalley, John, 1984. "Applied General-Equilibrium Models of Taxation and International Trade: An Introduction and Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 1007-51, September.
  7. Cai, Yuezhou & Riezman, Raymond & Whalley, John, 2013. "International trade and the negotiability of global climate change agreements," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 421-427.
  8. Whalley, John, 1979. "Uniform domestic tax rates, trade distortions and economic integration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 213-221, March.
  9. Susanne Dröge & Claudia Kemfert, 2005. "Trade Policy to Control Climate Change: Does the Stick Beat the Carrot?," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 74(2), pages 235-248.
  10. Weber, Christopher L. & Peters, Glen P., 2009. "Climate change policy and international trade: Policy considerations in the US," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 432-440, February.
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