(Yicai Global) Aug. 29 -- China's long-awaited green tax on enterprises discharging pollutants into the environment may be introduced soon, Chinese Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei said in a speech today.
Mobile pollution sources such as motor vehicles, vessels and aircrafts will be exempt from the tax. Enterprises discharging air or water pollutants at half or less than the national or local emission standard, will be charged at half rate.
China started levying charges on water pollution, air pollution, solid waste residues and noise pollution in the 1980s. The present pollutant discharge fee system was introduced in 2003 and charges were imposed on enterprises, institutions and individually-owned businesses directly discharging pollutants to the environment. Rates were fixed by individual provinces but due to local governments prioritizing economic development over environmental protection, the fines were not effectively enforced.
Lower limits for the green tax will be determined based on current pollutant discharge fees. The pollutant discharge fee system will be abolished upon the enactment of the green tax law.