China moves step closer to tax on pollutants

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Beijing, Aug 29 (IANS) The Chinese government offered a draft environment tax law to the legislature for a first reading on Monday, taking the country a step closer to a national tax on pollutants from business activities.

The draft law proposes rates ranging from 350 yuan ($52) to 11,200 yuan ($1,700) per month on industrial noise pollution, depending on the decibel level, Xinhua news agency reported.

It also set rates of 1.2 yuan (18 cents) on a stipulated quantity of air pollutants, 1.4 yuan (21 cents) on a stipulated quantity of water pollutants and a range of five to 1,000 yuan (75 cents to $150) for each tonne of different kinds of solid waste.

For instance, polluters will be levied 1.2 yuan for emission of 0.95 kg of sulfur dioxide and 1.4 yuan for discharging 100 grams of petroleum in the water.

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Carbon dioxide (CO2) has not been included in the levying list, said Finance Minister Lou Jiwei while explaining the draft.

The rates may also be halved if tax payers’ emissions are below half the national standard.

Provincial governments may “appropriately” raise rates taking local economy and pollution conditions into account, according to the draft law.

Instead of taxing polluters, China currently collects a “pollutant discharge fee” which features rates that are almost equal to or lower than the standard tax rates in the draft law.

China established the “pollutant discharge fee” system in 1979. In 2015, it collected 17.3 billion yuan ($2.6 billion) from 280,000 enterprises and other business operators.



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