Cabinet clashes over push to impose a ‘carbon tax on imported goods from polluting countries’ Ministers reject the idea after George Eustice, Environment Secretary, says that this will be an ‘important’ move in the future

  • Yesterday, Mr Eustice claimed that the “important” idea was being discussed 
  • Treasury and Department for Business stated that no plans are currently under review
  • Ministers were concerned about the possibility of such a plan being viewed as a form protectionism

Today, ministers dismissed Environment Secretary George Eustice. He had stated that the government was looking at imposing ‘carbon borders taxes’ on imports coming from poor countries.

Yesterday Mr Eustice said that the important’ idea was currently under discussion and he had ruled out a ‘arbitrary’ tax on imported meat.

But, Treasury officials and Department for Business representatives said that no plans for such plans were being considered at this time.

The Times reported that ministers were also worried that this plan could be considered a form protectionionism, which might increase food imports’ costs. 

Mr Eustice yesterday claimed that the 'important' idea was under discussion as he ruled out an 'arbitrary' meat tax on foreign food.

Yesterday, Mr Eustice claimed the “important” idea was being discussed as he rejected an arbitrary tax on meat for foreign foods.

But ministers are concerned that such a plan would be a form of protectionism that could increase the cost of food imports, the Times reported

However, ministers fear that such a plan will be seen as a form protectionionism which could raise the price of imports of food. The Times reported.

The carbon tax would theoretically impose costs on products made by states that are not acting in their legal responsibilities.  

The comments came as Boris Johnson urged negotiators at Cop 26 in Glasgow to ‘drive for the line’ to get deals on protecting the globe.

A border tax on imports will take many years to implement and, according to Mr Eustice, it should be done on an international scale.

He stated that ‘In an ideal universe, it would be done multilaterally with the entire world coming together to agreement this’, he said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show in Glasgow.

“But it will be essential. You can’t really understand the concept of emissions trading and carbon taxes without a carbon border.

This tax is intended to stop pollution being exported through imports of products from other countries, without considering the emission produced in those countries.

We would say, as nations, that we have taken the necessary actions to meet this challenge. However, we will not allow these producers to lose out to those doing more than their fair share and also we will not export pollution.

“So, if you don’t want to export polluting substances then at some point you will need to look into a carbon tax border tax.”

Protesters gathered outside the COP26 summit taking place in Glasgow this weekend

Glasgow, Scotland – Protesters gathered in front of the COP26 summit this weekend 

But, Mr Eustice made it clear that there is no’meat tax. 

He said, “We don’t intend to have an arbitrary tax on meat or levy.”

“That has never been in the cards.” It has never been supported by me. 

Johnson spoke at the weekend, saying that there was only one week for COP26’s deliverables for the entire world. He urged us all to pull together and work for this goal.

Johnson stated that nations have brought “ambition and actions to limit rising temperatures”, hailing the signing of agreements regarding deforestation, methane emissions and other issues.

He continued, “But we can’t underestimate the task ahead to preserve 1.5C,” he said.

“Countries should return to the table next week prepared to accept bold compromises, and make ambitious promises.”