Beijing may mitigate coronavirus emissions requirementsMarch 21, 2020
China is exploring the possibility of mitigating some emission standards to help automakers combat an unprecedented recession in the world’s largest market.
The discussion addresses a key aspect of China VI rules, which are due to enter into force nationwide on July 1. In particular, the Chinese authorities are discussing whether to limit the number of harmful particles that vehicles emit from their exhaust pipes.
This step shows how pressure is building on countries to sacrifice long-term environmental goals to save the economy after the coronavirus pandemic. Growth in China had already slowed down before the outbreak paralyzed various industries, automakers were particularly hit, and now economists at the Goldman Sachs Group believe the world’s second largest economy will shrink by 9% in the first quarter.
“In an environment where car manufacturers and dealers are under unprecedented pressure, politicians need to relax emission rules and save the industry,” said Tsui Dongshu, general secretary of the China Passenger Car Association, a trade organization. “This is especially important for dealers, as they will face bankruptcy if they cannot reduce their inventory.”
The Ministry of Ecology and the Environment, which promotes stricter emission rules to limit pollution, did not comment, and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which should have agreed to any changes, did not comment.
Last year, emission rules were tightened in most of China last year, which apparently contributed to lower demand for cars, as it prompted consumers to wait for cars that meet the new criteria.
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