Moscow air talks to debate measures against EU-draft

Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:03am EST

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* Agenda mentions formal dispute, but seen unlikely for now

* Vocal opposition from nations including China, India, United States

* EU has repeatedly said will stand firm

By Barbara Lewis

BRUSSELS, Feb 17 (Reuters) - A meeting in Moscow next week of nations vehemently opposed to the EU law that forces all airlines to buy carbon permits will debate a "basket of counter-measures" to the European Union scheme, a draft agenda seen by Reuters on Friday showed.

The agenda also refers to the formal dispute procedure under the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, although some airline representatives and analysts have said the meeting would be unlikely to decide on whether to invoke that for now.

Nations, including China, the United States, India and Russia, have all expressed opposition to EU legislation requiring carriers using EU airports to acquire allowances under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

China's central government State Council, or cabinet, earlier this month said all airlines were barred from taking part - unless they received government approval to do so.

The so-called "coalition of the unwilling" - bringing together 26 nations - has held a series of meetings.

At its two-day Moscow gathering beginning on Tuesday, Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin is expected to open the "follow-up international conference" on coordinating activities to opposing the inclusion of aviation in the EU ETS.

According to the draft seen by Reuters, the meeting will go on to debate an unspecified "basket of countermeasures".

Other agenda items refer to a letter to EU member states and "application aspects of the article 84 of the Chicago Convention", again without explanation.

Article 84 covers a formal dispute procedure at the U.N.'s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Airline representatives and analysts have said it would be unwise to opt for the extremely lengthy formal dispute procedure before ICAO has had another chance to find a global market-based solution to airline emissions.

(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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