In a suggestion with repercussions for Canada, France’s former president Nicolas Sarkozy suggests the European Union should impose a border tax on goods imported from the United States if that country abandons climate efforts under incoming president Donald Trump.
“Sarkozy told the French television channel TF1 that he would ‘demand that Europe put in place a carbon tax of 1% to 3% for all products coming from the United States, if the United States doesn’t apply environmental rules that we are imposing on our companies,’” Quartz reports.
Sarkozy “is considered a frontrunner for the nomination of the center-right Les Républicains party in the upcoming French presidential elections,” the outlet adds. “If he wins, he will be Trump’s French counterpart, and a powerful influencer within the European Union.”
The question of how to deal with trade between a jurisdiction with a carbon tax and one without has bedevilled proponents of such a measure. In the wake of Trump’s election, conservative critics have called on Canada to put its plans for a national floor price on carbon on hold. The Prime Minister has indicated the government will stay on its present course to institute the price by 2018.
It would be more difficult for Canada to institute a border carbon tax within the confines of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but the subject could well be on the agenda if Trump opens a dialogue on the trade pact’s future—an eventuality Trudeau has said he is ready for, but which the deal’s third partner, Mexico, has so far rejected.