Border Carbon Adjustment


U.S. Senator Chris Coons and House Representative Scott Peters, both Democrats, earlier this week unveiled the “Fair, Affordable, Innovative, and Resilient (FAIR) Transition and Competition Act” (the Act), which, if enacted, would establish a border carbon adjustment (BCA) to be imposed as a fee on imports, starting on January 1, 2024. This follows the recent release of climate and emissions reduction proposals by the European Commission which also include BCAs for imports into the European Union. This bulletin briefly outlines the key provisions of the Act. Sectors. The Act would apply to industrial facilities that produce the following products: Steel; Aluminum; Cement; Iron; and Any product which is composed of over 50 percent of any of the above products. Determination of domestic environmental cost incurred. The Act would empower the Secretary of the Treasury (the Secretary) to annually determine the domestic environmental cost incurred for each sector or the average cost to produce a covered fuel (natural gas, petroleum, and coal), to comply with federal, state, regional, or local law, regulation, policy or program which, inter alia, is designed to limit or reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including cap-and-trade systems, carbon taxes, and fees. Border carbon adjustment. The Secretary would administer the BCA through regulation and guidance. The Secretary of State and the United Stated Trade Representative would engage with other countries to reduce global GHG emissions and ensure fairness in the application of the emissions-based tariffs. A fee would be applied to any covered good (either a covered fuel or product produced within a sector) to be determined based on the domestic environmental cost incurred multiplied by the production of GHG emissions of the product or the upstream GHG emissions of the covered fuel. The BCA would not apply to (i) countries on the Least Developed Countries list of the OECD and (ii) countries that…