Export tax rebates are an important policy instrument for stimulating exports, which many developing countries make use of. However, excessive export tax rebates and inappropriate structural arrangements can lead to over-production in highly polluting industries and cause the environment to deteriorate. This paper, taking China as the study case, tests and verifies the statistical significance of the causal relationship between export tax rebates and pollution emissions. With a computable general equilibrium modeling, the current study further analyzes the effectiveness of export tax rebate adjustments aimed at alleviating environmental pressure for different time periods. It is found that before 2003, export tax rebates primarily promoted exports and boosted foreign exchange reserves, and highly polluting sectors enjoyed above-average export tax rebates, which led to increased pollution emissions. Between 2003 and 2010, the export tax rebate system was reformed to reduce support for the highly polluting export sectors, which led to decreases in emissions. Canceling export tax rebates for highly polluting sectors is shown to be the most favorable policy choice for improving the environmental performance of China's international trade. This study can serve as reference for other developing countries which similarly rely on export tax rebates, so that they can adjust their policies so as to combine economic growth with pollution control.
Journal of Environmental Management – Elsevier
Published: Sep 15, 2015
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