Switzerland to join “Green New Deal” to combat carbon emissions
The Swiss government has announced its intention to follow the new EU cross-border CO2 plan, as part of what the EU calls the “Green New Deal.”
Switzerland will "have" to join the European Union deal
The EU’s Green New Deal will see all goods moving into its borders from non-EU countries like Switzerland face a carbon price test, meaning that the importer would have to pay an extra charge to match how much the good would have cost had it been produced in EU with the EU’s carbon taxes applied.
The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) is due to start in 2023, with the new rules set to impact carbon-intensive sectors such as cement producers and the import / export of vehicles. The Swiss National Council's Economic Affairs and Taxation Committee said that Switzerland should prepare to participate. They noted that as Switzerland is tied to the EU for most imports and exports, Swiss entrepreneurs will have to take part “one way or another.”
Supporters in the National Council made the case that participation in the scheme would prevent a “one-sided burden” for Swiss businesses, making a level playing field for both international companies and domestic manufacturers. The motion to join / abide by the EU rules passed the National Council by 113 votes to 69, against the wishes of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and the executive branch.
European Union will create a "bureaucracy monster" for Switzerland?
Opponents of the bill argued that the bureaucratic effort required to join would be too much to bear for Swiss companies. Magdalena Martullo-Blocher from the SVP said that the EU’s plan would create “a bureaucracy monster - and a trigger for new trade wars.” She noted that if Switzerland were to join, it would be tied to a climate policy they had no way of changing.
The decision to join CBAM has now been put to the Council of States, the upper house of the Swiss government. Despite Swissinfo claiming that Swiss companies that produce goods would be largely unaffected by the EU carbon taxes, there is concern that Swiss companies and banks that fund carbon-intensive industries abroad may be charged.