Biden exploring border adjustment tax to fight climate change

U.S. President Joe Biden Image: Flickr

President Joe Biden is exploring the idea of a border adjustment tax that would slap a levy on imports from countries with weaker climate policies, John Kerry, the White House’s special envoy for climate said Friday.

“President Biden, I know, is particularly interested in evaluating the border adjustment mechanism,” Kerry said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “He wants to look at that and see whether that’s something that we need to deploy.”

The idea has been gaining interest from world leaders as a way to shield domestic workers making energy-intensive goods while encouraging other countries to slash their emissions. The tax would discourage companies from shifting operations to nations with less-stringent rules.

“Europe is already looking at that in depth, and they will wind up deploying it if they don’t get satisfaction from China and other countries with respect to the transition off of coal,” Kerry said shortly after participating in a two-day virtual climate summit hosted by the U.S.

Biden supported a border adjustment on carbon during the presidential campaign last year. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged G-7 countries to enact carbon border taxes. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has raised the idea as a possible area of collaboration with the U.S.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in March it would consider a carbon border adjustment to encourage climate action globally while protecting domestic manufacturing.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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