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Environmental Border Tax Adjustments and International Trade Law

Fostering Environmental Protection

Alice Pirlot

This timely book brings clarity to the debate on the new legal phenomenon of environmental border tax adjustments. It will help form a better understanding of the role and limits these taxes have on environmental policies in combating global environmental challenges, such as climate change.
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Contents

Fostering Environmental Protection

Alice Pirlot

Foreword

Acknowledgements

List of abbreviations

Table of cases

Introduction

PART I   FROM ECONOMIC TO ENVIRONMENTAL OBJECTIVES: LOOKING BACK AT THE RATIONALE OF TRADITIONAL BTAs AND LOOKING AHEAD TO NEW PARADIGMS

1  History and theoretical foundations of traditional BTAs

1.1  BTAs’ economic foundation

1.1.1  BTAs’ historical development in light of the history of tariffs

1.1.2  The origin of BTAs’ economic rationale

1.2  BTAs’ political history

1.2.1  First BTAs

1.2.2  International fora on BTAs: the OECD and GATT reports on BTAs

1.2.3  National and regional views on BTAs

1.3  BTAs’ main theoretical foundations

1.4  Interim conclusions

2  History and theoretical foundations of environmental BTAs

2.1  Environmental BTAs’ economic foundation

2.2  Political history of environmental BTAs

2.2.1  International fora on environmental BTAs: the OECD and the GATT/WTO

2.2.2  National and regional views on environmental BTAs

2.3  Environmental BTAs’ main theoretical foundations

2.3.1  Ricardo’s theory revised: the revised theory of comparative advantage

2.3.2  Revised theory of the absolute advantage

2.3.3  Theory of the legitimate absolute advantage

2.3.4  Interactions between traditional and environmental BTAs’ theoretical foundations: legal impact

2.4  Interim conclusions

PART   II FROM TRADITIONAL CONSUMPTION TAXES TO INNOVATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL BTAs: AN ANALYSIS OF THEIR TAX DESIGN

3  Tax design of traditional BTAs

3.1  General characteristics

3.1.1  BTAs and the concept of ‘border’

3.1.2  BTAs and the concept of ‘tax’

3.1.3  BTAs and the concept of ‘adjustment’

3.1.4  BTAs and goods

3.2  Illustration: traditional BTAs in practice

3.2.1  Practices in the 1960s: findings of the OECD and GATT Reports

3.2.2  Current practices: the examples of EU VAT and excise duty systems and of US retail sales taxes

3.3  Interim conclusions

4  Tax design of environmental BTAs

4.1  General characteristics

4.1.1  Environmental BTAs and the concept of ‘border’

4.1.2  Environmental BTAs and the concept of ‘tax’

4.1.3  Environmental BTAs and the concept of ‘adjustment’

4.1.4  Environmental BTAs and goods

4.2  Illustration: Environmental BTAs in practice

4.2.1  Excise duty-based models

4.2.2  VAT-based models

4.2.3  Models based on the retail sales tax

4.2.4  Other models – environmental tax on producers

4.3  Common issues of tax design

4.3.1  Valuation – environmental proxies

4.3.2  Risk of abuse

4.3.3  Allocation of revenue

4.4  Interim conclusions

PART   III FROM OLD LEGAL DEBATES TO BRAND NEW LEGAL ISSUES: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE COMPATIBILITY OF TRADITIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL BTAs UNDER WTO LAW (AND BEYOND)

5  Legal framework of traditional BTAs

5.1  BTAs’ main legal grounds

5.1.1  General GATT provisions and BTAs

5.1.2  WTO law: specific rules surrounding BTAs

5.2  Conditions for the adoption of BTAs on imports and exports

5.2.1  Taxes concerned – conceptual framing of BTAs

5.2.2  BTAs on imports: the National Treatment (NT) principle

5.3  Interim conclusions

6  Legal framework of environmental BTAs

6.1  Environmental BTAs under WTO law surrounding traditional BTAs

6.1.1  Eligible taxes

6.1.2  National Treatment principle

6.1.3  MFN principle (GATT Article I)

6.2  Environmental BTAs under other (WTO and non-WTO) relevant legal provisions

6.2.1  Other WTO relevant legal provisions: GATT Article XX

6.2.2  Other non-WTO relevant legal provisions

6.3  Interim conclusions

Conclusion

Bibliography

Index