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Is Chinese trade policy motivated by environmental concerns?

Sabrina Eisenbarth

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2017, vol. 82, issue C, 74-103

Abstract: This paper analyses whether China's export VAT rebates and export taxes are driven by environmental concerns. Since China struggles to enforce environmental regulation, trade policy can be used as a second-best environmental policy. In a general equilibrium model it is possible to show that the second-best export tax increases in a product's pollution intensity. The empirical analysis investigates whether the export tax equivalent of partial VAT rebates and export taxes are higher for products which are more pollution intensive along several dimensions. The results indicate that the VAT rebate rates are set in a way that discourages exports of water pollution intensive, SO2 intensive and energy intensive products from 2007 on. Moreover, the conservation of natural resources such as minerals, metals, wood products and precious stones seems to be a key determinant of China's export VAT rebate rates. There is little evidence that export taxes are motivated by environmental concerns.

Keywords: Q56; Q53; Q58; Q37; F18; Keywords:; China; Export VAT rebates; Export taxes; Trade policy; Second-best environmental policy; Air pollution; Water pollution; Energy intensity; Natural resources; Metal products (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Journal of Environmental Economics and Management is currently edited by M.A. Cole, A. Lange, D.J. Phaneuf, D. Popp, M.J. Roberts, M.D. Smith, C. Timmins, Q. Weninger and A.J. Yates

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