European Union has set some goals in global level: industrial technology, sustainable agriculture and fishery, bio-diversity, zero pollution and detoxified environment for clean, safe, accessible energy and clean economy.
A plan was revealed in order to relieve the low environment and labour standards and unfair and trade-contravening advantages of 3rd countries outside the European Union to protect the society livign under fair and wealthy lives and modern, productive and competitive economy in 2050.
The above-mentioned plan is expressed as “European Green Deal” and EU will take the following serious strategic measures related to it:
- To decrease CO2 emission from in 50-55% from 40% in 2030;
- To impose carbon border tax in order to prevent carbon leakage through importation within EU industries;
- To increase current renewable energy investments and incentives for the member states;
- To increase the energy production from wind and solar energy systems.
Those measures is designed as a plan covering all sectors of economy such transportation, energy, agriculture, construction as well as steel, cement, textile, electronic and optical products, motor vehicles and chemicals.
The issue drawing our attention most is “carbon border adjustment mechanism” which is named as “carbon tax”. It has an assertive goal related to adjusting the imported product based on the carbon released during its production process. It is predicted that especially steel and cement sectors will be affected directly from the adjustment of importation prices in order to prevent carbon leakage within the Union. On the other hand, the response of the international trade regime related to it is wondered. This is because, such tax is considered as a protective measure according to some experts and may arise some disputes since it is against the rules of the World Trade Organization. Consequently, it is not possible to understand the aim of the green deal with the carbon tax even though it attracts the attention.
The main goal of the European Union is to establish “Circular Economy”.
The circular economy is accepting the consumption perception model involving sharing, rental, repair, renewal and recycling the commercial materials and products circulating during the longest period possible. It creates a completely different commercial atmosphere.
Let’s give an example from packaging sector. It is planned to reduce the wastes of packaging operations, to develop recyclable packaging designs and to ban using some materials.
Let’s give another example from plastic sector. It is planned to ban adding microplastics to the products, to reduce the level of undesirable microplastics with some certificates, to support the textile and automobile tire sectors to develop measurements for microplastic levels and biological plastic production.
For the textile sector; it is planned to apply a new sustainable production frame, to provide eco-design, to encourage the consumers to use sustainable products and to enable those products for them. It is thought to provide investments and incentives for new production methods for re-used and recycled textile products.
Consequently, the biggest mistake for Turkey will be to perceive “Green Deal” as carbon tax. It actually aims to create a new consumer culture within a “Circular Economy” and an international sales and consumer law rising on this culture. And a transformation under the concept of “New European Bauhaus” is planned as a interdisciplinary cultural change movement for almost every field from a wide perspective. Then, what are the changes as a result of the transformation especially related to the legal fields?
- Minimum economic life guarantee at the time of sales under sales laws;
- Obligation to supply spare parts for periods longer than the current conditions under the production and supply laws;
- Engaging the sales of the second-hand products with law;
- Introducing binding environment, labour force compatibilities and product safety requirements during life of the product;
- Clarifying the rights related to the ethical/moral compensations arising with environmental and social effects;
- Regulations related to wastes and recycling;
- Introducing regulations related to sharing economy;
- Green investment and financing;
- Supply of clean energy.
Conclusion and Recommendations
- There will be serious problems related to update of the Customs Union to be conducted by EU since Turkey did not accept Paris Agreement.
- The suspicions related to global application of carbon tax are mentioned; however, Turkey will face the results of it during the updating discussions of Customs Union and they will affect the relevant sectors directly.
- In case it is considered as a carbon tax only, we will make a mistake; we will need to change our commercial habits and create new sales/production/serivce laws for the relevant new consumption culture and new way and law of life.
- In case we cannot comprehend Circular Economy, we will not be able to sell our services and products to EU in the near future.