The World Trade Organization and France will work together to ensure that the future border carbon mechanism on which the European Union is working will comply with international trade rules, announced the French Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Mayor Thursday in Geneva.
This working group, which may include other European countries, will have two objectives: “how to ensure that this mechanism complies with WTO law and how to guarantee a just transition for developing countries”, explained Mr. The Mayor after a meeting with the new Director General of the WTO, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The idea of this mechanism is to prevent the very expensive European investments to decarbonize industrial production – and thus help fight against global warming – from being nullified by the import of competing products that are cheaper because they are manufactured with traditional methods.
“This mechanism of carbon adjustment at the borders must respect the rules of the World Trade Organization. We cannot support on the one hand trade multilateralism and on the other not respect its rules”, acknowledged Mr. Le Mayor.
He said that initially only steel and cement would be concerned, two products whose manufacture generates a lot of greenhouse gases.
“This is in any case the hypothesis on which we are working. This makes it possible to better control the effectiveness of this mechanism and to ensure that it complies with the rules”, underlined the Minister.
“But I believe that the mechanism that we have put in place will make it possible to reassure everyone and respond to this legal question which is legitimate,” he insisted.
For her part, the Director General of the WTO, who took up her post at the beginning of March, said her concern to ensure “that we do not put in place a mechanism which is discriminatory, which protects producers. of others, or puts local producers at a disadvantage compared to others “.
She insisted on another aspect which is very close to her heart. “We have to make sure that the least developed countries and the developing countries do not see this mechanism as a disadvantage for them, a disadvantage to their development.”
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