Uproar over EU Emission Tax

New Delhi: India plans to join forces with Russia and China to take retaliatory steps against the EU over the latter's emission tax on aircraft.

A group of 30 countries, including India and China, is meeting in Moscow over the EU's decision to charge for carbon emissions from flights in and out of Europe. Similar taxes on emissions have also been imposed on ships.

The European Union (EU) imposed the tax from January 1. Over two dozen countries, including the US, have opposed it. India is against the European Union's Emission Trading Scheme under which airlines using the EU airspace will have to pay a fee for carbon emissions that exceed a given limit.

Indian officials have said 30 countries will meet in Moscow on February 21 and 22, and major decisions to "tackle" the situation will be taken.

"India is planning to ask other countries to not only tax European carriers for flying over their respective countries but also tax them for using their waters for trade purposes. But all these things are still being considered," said a senior government official.

Sources, however, declined to elaborate on the tax proposals as it was yet to be discussed with other nations and approved by the finance ministry.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has also warned European airlines of "retaliatory action" by non-EU nations.

"Time is not on our side. Airlines from Europe may face some retaliatory action. Some non-European airlines may have to choose whether to obey the law of their land or that of Europe... which should convince all states that the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) is the way forward," IATA chief Tony Tyler said.

Chinese civil aviation authorities have already banned its airlines from participating in the EU emission scheme. Chinese airlines have been asked neither to pay the EU carbon emission charges nor hike freights or other fees without government permission.

At a meeting of the ICAO - an UN organization - and other non-EU member states in Delhi last September it was decided to oppose the EU plan.