If a large number of countries wish to band together to limit climate change, could they impose a tariff on imports from countries that do not limit CO2 production, accusing the non-compliant of taking advantage of an unfair trade practice?
Interesting question. Theoretically, of course, as long is a government is sovereign, it may do as it sees fit. The friction may arrive [not sure, but maybe] something like this.
80 governments agree to band into an organization A, for this specific purpose. or, they may sign an agreement among themselves. It may be viewed as a cartel of sorts.
But, let’s say none of the 80 are among the largest economies. The US is not included. Somewhere around that time, the USDOS decides to ‘intervene’, in favor of the regulations already in place, like WTO rules, US gov rules, and so forth. If any exports of the US are affected negatively by said special tariff, the USDOS or the USDOC [Commerce] may step in and request an opinion or a study from the WTO or other instrumentality of a similar nature. They also may submit their own study. The USDOS or USDOC may do its own lobbying, to render the special tariff as illegal or place it under another legal categorization, which renders questionable its international legal standing.
It always has at its disposal, the recourse to bilateral negotiations, with key governments among the theoretical 80, with a view to unravel the movement to establish the special tariff described in the post.
Other governments of large economies [advanced countries] may do the same. They may even offer something, or some things, in exchange for a guarantee from the leadership of the ’80’ that such special tariff will not be established. It could be regarded as ‘free trade in one direction only’. No major main line news wire service would call it that way.
The USDOS could also use its influence at the G7/G8 meetings, to introduce discussions on this topic, into the proceedings.
If it just happens that the US gov is the leader, or is among the leaders, of the 80, then the USDOS and the USDOC may use similar procedures, to produce an outcome that is basically the opposite: sign up most governments, and demolish the exports of the governments who do not comply.
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