People, Environment

China to Levy Pollution Tax on Industries

China to Levy Pollution Tax on Industries
China to Levy Pollution Tax on Industries

China’s Parliament passed a law on Sunday that will levy specific environmental protection taxes on industry for the first time from 2018, as part of a renewed focus on fighting the country’s pollution woes.

Anger has risen in the world’s second-largest economy at the government’s repeated failure to tackle land, water and air pollution, with large parts of northern China enveloped in dangerous smog in recent days, Reuters reported.

“Tax revenue is an important economic means to promote environmental protection,” China’s Finance Ministry said in a statement.

The tax rate will be 1.2 yuan ($0.17) per unit of atmospheric pollution, 1.4 yuan per unit of water pollution, 5 yuan per ton of coal waste and 1,000 yuan per ton of “hazardous waste”.

Industrial noise polluters will also be levied 350 yuan per month if they exceed limits by 1-3 decibels, 700 yuan for 4-6 decibels and 11,200 yuan per month for 16 decibels and more.

The law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

China has not previously imposed any specific environmental taxes and the new levy will replace an earlier system of miscellaneous charges that are regarded as far too low to deter polluters.

Officials have repeatedly stressed that the new policy is not designed to increase the tax burden on enterprises.

“The core purpose (of the policy) is not to increase taxes, but to improve the system and encourage enterprises to reduce emissions—the more they emit, the more they will pay and the less they emit, the less they will pay,” environment minister Chen Jining said earlier this year.

Details of the new law have been fiercely contested by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Finance, the State Taxation Administration and local governments, and has been subject to repeated delays.

Conflicts of interest have emerged as other departments worry about lost revenues once the previous system of emission discharge fees is abolished. Some government researchers have also argued that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases should be included in the plans.

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