Canada-EU Roundtable: Carbon Border Adjustments


In order to meet their respective carbon reduction targets, both Canada and the EU are undergoing domestic processes that may involve the adoption of border carbon adjustment mechanisms (BCAMs), which prescribe the imposition of duties on imports depending on how carbon-intensive these products are. The prospect of these BCAMs, which have long been raised by policymakers as a way to address concerns over “carbon leakage,” has also sparked years of debate over whether such a mechanism will be compatible with WTO rules on non-discrimination.

Currently, Canada’s 2020 Fall Economic Statement states that a BCAM will be the subject of both domestic discussions as well as international debate with other countries and country groups. The EU is exploring the prospect of introducing a border carbon adjustment mechanism under its sweeping Green New Deal.

Submissions from both Canada and the EU to the structured discussions at the WTO refers to BCAMs as a possible sub-topic under the overarching topic of “trade-related aspects of climate change mitigation and adaptation”. However, this view is not universal, with some members suggesting that these issues are best suited for the UN climate talks or another forum.

On July 15th, the Canada Europe Roundtable for Business, the Canada EU Trade and Investment Association and McCarthy Tétrault LLP are pleased to present a high-level policy roundtable for government officials, private sector representatives and civil society stakeholders on this important topic.


15.00 Opening remarks: Jason Langrish, Executive Director, Canada Europe Roundtable for Business

15.05 – 15.30 Why a Border Carbon Adjustment Mechanism?
Doug Forsyth, Director General, Global Affairs Canada
Ignacio Garcia Bercero, Director, DG Trade, European Commission

15.30 – 16.20 Panel Discussion: the legality and economic impact of BCAMs
Martha Harrison, Partner, International Trade & Investment Law Group, McCarthy Tétrault LLP
Fredrik Erixon, Director, European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
Mehreen Khan, EU Correspondent, Financial Times
René Van Sloten, Advisor, Industrial Policy, cefic
Chair: Mark Camilleri, President Canada EU Trade and Investment Association

16.20 – 16.35 Q&A

16.35 Concluding Remarks