At the 2007 Forum on China Energy Sustainable Development in Beijing last weekend, an official from the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) disclosed that it was quite likely car owners in China would be taxed for their car emissions in the future.
According to Yang Chaofei, Director of the SEPA Policy Department, authorities inside the Ministry of Finance, the State Administration of Taxation and SEPA are now conducting research on taxation for pollution and other emissions.
Yang explained that drivers would be taxed for the pollutants emitting from their cars, for example, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide. They might have to pay the tax when purchasing petrol. A separate pollution tax would target enterprises; companies would pay for producing products that discharge high levels of pollution.
According to Yang, the policies are now in the research stage and are expected to go into effect during the 2006-2010 period. The Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation are both responsible for policy design and enforcement. The State Environmental Protection Administration will provide technological support, such as setting up pollution and emission standards, emission inspection stations, etc.
Many experts have advocated implementing an environmental tax. In June the State Council published a comprehensive work plan that advocates saving energy and diminishing pollution and states that China is also considering implementing an environmental tax.
(China.org.cn by Li Xiaohua, November 20, 2007)