CBAM: EC again shows questionable behaviour
CBAM: EC again shows questionable behaviour

9 October 2023 – Once again the EU CO2 border tax attracts negative attention and puts the behaviour of the European Commission (EC) in a more than questionable corner. Favouritism at the EC or how critical voices were systematically excluded from CBAM development. Strong job growth in the US and a solid outlook for the global economy start the week on a positive note.

Strong US job growth and solid economy

The US labour market continues to be extremely robust, with US job growth of 336,000 in September, far exceeding forecasts of 170,000. In addition, data for the previous two months were also revised sharply upwards. The unemployment rate remained at a historically low 3.8 per cent. The ISM Manufacturing Employment Index also developed positively and much better than expected in September, rising by 2.9 percentage points to 51.2. 

Overall, Deutsche Bank, for example, currently expects a solid global economic development for 2024. None of the major institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the World Bank, currently anticipate a downturn and also forecast possible economic growth of up to 3% for 2023 and 2024. 

CBAM: EC again shows questionable behaviour

That the European Commission (EC) is repeatedly suspected and criticised of favouritism is nothing new. A good example of this is that the Gerber Group, which specialises in stainless steel trading, had already applied for the informal CBAM expert group in February 2023 and was rejected by the CBAM team of the Directorate-General TAX UD on flimsy grounds.

Pretextual reasons on the part of the CBAM team

The attempts of the responsible EC staff to defend themselves ranged between the application deadline having passed and the expert group not being able to formally accept any more members. This could be sufficiently refuted by the Gerber Group on all points and was also confirmed by the CBAM team. In the end, DG TAXUD’s response was: “We don’t want you!”

Questionable rejection of applicants not an isolated case

Not an isolated case, as we now know. At least one other interested European party was rejected under false pretences and baseless allegations.

Favouritism in CBAM development

The fact that favouritism is clearly being practised by the European Commission and that critics and unwelcome parties are being excluded is evident from the fact that the informal CBAM expert group has been expanded by 13 members or observers since January 2023 (as of 9 October 2023). Even the responsible top European Green Deal Advisor, Peter Van Kemseke, had made false statements on the subject in a letter to Thorsten Gerber, CEO of the Gerber Group, at the end of July 2023.

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