(Corrects lead, adds paras 2-4, to say Hintze alone, not
officials, said ministers to seek suspension. Removes Chris
Davies quotes to conform)
* Airbus ministers to push for delay of EU ETS
* Want global agreement in 2013 via trade body ICAO
* Britain's Fallon warns of clear and present danger
* Airbus sales chief says airlines could pay tax to ICAO
By Maria Sheahan and Victoria Bryan
BERLIN, Sept 11 Aerospace officials of the
European countries where Airbus makes its planes will
push for a suspension of the European Union's Emission Trading
System (ETS) for airlines to avert retaliation from China, an
official said on Tuesday.
The German government official in charge of aerospace
policy, Peter Hintze, said after a meeting of the so-called
Airbus ministers from Britain, France, Germany and Spain that
they would propose to their national governments that payments
under the ETS should be delayed beyond the planned April start.
"I am in favour of a suspension until the autumn of 2013,"
Hintze told journalists following a news conference with fellow
ministers. "That would buy some time from April until
During the news conference the other ministers did not spell
out exactly what action they intended to take.
Michael Fallon, new business minister in Britain, said at
the ILA Berlin Air Show on Tuesday: "Airbus has left us with no
doubt that the threat of retaliatory action is a clear and
present danger to its order list."
There is harsh opposition to the ETS from European air
travel companies and countries outside the EU such as the United
States, Australia and Brazil that have said they want a global
agreement to curb carbon emissions rather than a European law
that extends to non-EU companies.
China has threatened retaliation - including impounding
European aircraft - if the European Union punishes Chinese
airlines for not complying with its emissions trading scheme
(ETS), intended to curb pollution.
The dispute between China and the EU froze deals worth up to
$14 billion, though China signed an agreement with Germany for
50 Airbus planes worth over $4 billion during Chancellor Angela
Merkel's visit to Beijing last month.
If the dispute is not resolved, Airbus will have to cut its
production target for the A330 "pretty soon", Airbus Chief
Executive Fabrice Bregier said late on Monday.
"We are very much aware that the clock is ticking. We have
very little time left," Fallon said, referring to airlines'
first EU deadline in April 2013 to pay for their emissions.
He was speaking at a joint news conference of the four
government officials from Britain, Germany, Spain and France -
the so-called Airbus ministers - who usually meet at air shows
to discuss matters related to Airbus.
The airline industry has said the ETS distorts competition,
forcing European carriers to pay more simply because of the fact
they are based in the EU.
"We feel we are being discriminated against," Hintze said.
"We demand a global solution from an industrial policy point of
view because we could otherwise put ourselves at a disadvantage
in major markets."
Hintze said the ministers would urge their national
governments to push for a suspension of the EU's ETS until the
next general meeting of global trade body ICAO - the United
Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization - in
Hintze said no decision had been made yet on what a global
agreement on emissions trading could look like.
"The goal must be that the contribution of aviation is not
just limited to one continent but is agreed worldwide," he said.
Airbus sales chief John Leahy suggested at a separate news
conference on Tuesday that one possible solution could be that
all airlines around the world pay a tax to ICAO for carbon
emissions, regardless of where they are based.
(Additional reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by David
Holmes, Elaine Hardcastle and Anthony Barker)