CBAM – additional costs to import

The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) (established with EU Regulation 2023/956 of 10 May 2023) is a mechanism of «equalization» which aims to avoid carbon leakage phenomena (by moving the production of particularly polluting goods in terms of CO2 emissions outside the territory of the EU).
This mechanism imposes an additional cost on imports of certain goods (such as iron and steel, cement, aluminium, fertilizers, electricity, etc.).

In summary, the functioning of the CBAM will be as follows:

– imports of certain listed goods having a non-preferential origin of a non-EU country may be carried out only and exclusively by a CBAM declarant;

– the CBAM declarant will be a subject established in the EU (or his customs representative) who has submitted an application for registration in the CBAM register, accepted by the competent authority;

– the CBAM declarant will need to purchase CBAM eCertificates each representing 1 tonne of CO2 emissions embedded in the goods. The variable price of these certificates will be determined by the EU Commission;

– at the end of each quarter the CBAM declarant must have in his “account” (opened in the CBAM register) CBAM certificates with a value equal to at least 80% of the emissions incorporated in all the goods he has imported since the beginning of the year and periodically will communicate the imports made, offsetting by equivalence the CBAM certificates with the tons of CO2 emissions incorporated in the imported goods.

The scheme will have a “soft” start from 1 October 2023 (only with reporting obligations), to become fully operational starting from 1 January 2026.