China to introduce environmental tax for enhanced pollution control
December 26,2016 By:Xinhua
Dec. 26, 2016 -- Zhang Dejiang (1st R), chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), speaks at the closing meeting of the 25th session of the 12th NPC Standing Committee in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 25, 2016. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)
BEIJING, Dec. 26, 2016 -- Chinese lawmakers on Sunday adopted a new law to tax polluters, particularly heavy industry.
The Environment Tax Law was approved at the end of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee meeting which concluded Sunday afternoon.
The law, to enter into force on Jan. 1, 2018, will be key to fighting pollution, according to Wang Jianfan, director of the Ministry of Finance tax policy department.
China has collected a "pollutant discharge fee," since 1979. In 2015, it collected 17.3 billion yuan (about 2.5 billion U.S. dollars) from some 280,000 businesses, Wang said.
However, some local governments exploit loopholes and exempt enterprises which are otherwise big contributors to fiscal revenue. For years, regulators have suggested replacing the fee system with a law.
"The new law will reduce interference from government," Wang told a press conference. It will also improve tax payers' environmental awareness, forcing companies to upgrade technology and shift to cleaner production, Wang said.