BEIJING May 29 Energy producers and industrial emitters covered by a carbon trading market in China's Tianjin have been given an extra six weeks to comply with the scheme as many have yet to verify their 2013 emissions.
The setback marks the latest delay in China's drive to force heavy industry to use market mechanisms to rein in rapid growth in greenhouse gases in the world's biggest-emitting nation.
The 114 firms in the scheme in the northern city of Tianjin were supposed to be the first in the country to hand over permits to the government to cover for their 2013 emissions.
But the deadline has been pushed back to July 10 from May 31, according to a document circulated to companies by the Tianjin Development and Reform Commission (DRC), the government agency operating the market.
That would be after June deadlines set by some of the country's five other pilot emissions markets.
"The delay is due to a late start in verifying companies' emission data," said an official with the Tianjin Climate Exchange, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak with media.
Market participants in Tianjin must now submit verified emission reports to the DRC by June 20, said the note, seen by Reuters.
Meanwhile, the permit price has slid to around 28 yuan ($4.50) after peaking at just over 50 yuan in April, as demand remains low.
A total of 560,000 permits have changed hands since the market started in late December, most on the opening day.
An estimated 160 million permits were given to companies for the year 2013, including subsidiaries of firms such as China National Petroleum Corporation, Sinopec and Procter & Gamble .
Elsewhere, over 60 manufacturers have held back from participating in a scheme in southern Guangdong province as they think rules are unfair, while some companies in Shanghai say they are struggling to find companies willing to sell permits.
(Editing by Joseph Radford)