ABSTRACT

According to the China—Raw Materials and China—Rare Earths decisions, China cannot invoke environmental exceptions to justify violations of its export duty commitments. China lacked convincing environmental justification in those cases, to be sure, but a harsh ban on Chinese export duties could raise environmental concerns especially in the context of climate change. Since China is the largest emitter and exporter of carbon dioxide emissions, a number of climate studies have suggested China explore the potential of its export duties and make them a credible climate measure. This issue is, however, neglected in the current discussion of the ban on Chinese export duties. There is thus a need to consider ‘greening’ the WTO ban. This chapter introduces the major research question: whether generally prohibiting China from using export duties limits its capacity to protect the environment, and, if so, what are the solutions to provide China with policy space without opening the floodgates to protectionism. It accordingly proposes that, while export duties, which exclusively restrict exports, should be prohibited outright, ‘export duties plus’ that are adopted in combination with supplementary restrictions on domestic consumption should be allowed for pursuing environmental purposes subject to the strict scrutiny of GATT Article XX.