A senior Chinese diplomat said it "makes sense" for Chinese airlines to shun aircraft made in Europe, owing to an EU tax on aircraft emissions, the Wall Street Journal reported on March 12.
The newspaper reported that the new Chinese ambassador to the European Union in Brussels Wu Hailong said that a decision by the European Union to make non-European airlines subject to the tax "contributed to the current dilemma."
The EADS aerospace group which controls the European aircraft maker Airbus said last week that "Airbus is subjected to retaliation measures" and that "the Chinese government rejects (refuses) to approve airlines' orders for long range airplanes."
The main competitor to Airbus, which has important interests in the Chinese market, is Boeing.
The European Union has imposed a carbon tax on airlines with effect from January 1, but no carrier will face a bill until 2013 after this year's carbon emissions have been calculated. The EU has said the emissions tax will help the 27-nation bloc achieve its goal of cutting carbon emissions by 20% by 2020 and that it will not back down on the plan.
But more than two dozen countries, including China, Russia and the United States, have opposed the EU move, saying it violates international law.
The newspaper quoted Wu as saying that when a Chinese airline was included in the emission tax scheme "it makes sense for them to go to Boeing."
He said: "The issue is too big to be decided by the EU alone."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012