Korean car makers "set to accept" CO2 cuts

EU Commission examines new Korean offer on automobile greenhouse gas reductions

Korean car makers look ready to agree to EU demands a commitment to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new cars, ENDS Daily has learned. Until very recently it looked as if Korea would refuse to sign up to the CO2 standards agreed by the European car makers association Acea last year, claiming that it lacked the clean technologies developed in other industrialised countries. However, a Korean commercial attaché in Brussels said today that he was hopeful that Korea had now negotiated a deal which would be approved by EU environment ministers when they meet at the end of this month.

A European Commission official involved in the negotiations said the Commission was examining offers made by both the Korean car makers association, Kama, and its Japanese counterpart, Jama, in advance of the ministerial meeting on 24 June. He said "big progress" had been made and that both negotiations were at a similarly advanced stage. Until now it looked like Japan would comply with the "voluntary" reduction deal but that Korea was holding out for less severe requirements (ENDS Daily 11 March).

Since October, the European Commission has been in discussions with the Japanese and Korean industries to get them to make long-term cuts in the CO2 emissions of their new cars as part of the EU's strategy to combat climate change. Japan and Korea were the only significant car making countries left out of a deal concluded with European manufacturers. This requires a reduction in average CO2 emissions from new cars of around 25%, from 186 grams per kilometre (g/km) today to 140g/km by 2008 (ENDS Daily 6 October 1998).

As negotiations are in their final stages, all parties involved are being wary about giving details. The Korean official said that there were some elements in the Korean offer which varied from the Acea deal, but refused to give details. A Jama official said he hoped the Japanese deal would be approved publicly by the Commission within the next two weeks, before the ministerial meeting.

Follow Up:
Jama, tel: +32 2 639 1430; Korean EU mission, tel: +32 2 675 5777; European Commission, tel: +32 2 295 1111.

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