STEEL manufacturer U.S. Steel Košice is threatening to take legal action against Slovakia based on the so-called emissions tax which took effect on January 1, 2012. The company has sent a letter to government bodies in which it demands abolition of the tax and warns that if this does not happen the company will consider seeking arbitration, the Hospodárske Noviny daily reported.
“The ministry is evaluating the contents of the letter and will then consider possible further steps,” Finance Ministry spokesperson Martin Jaroš said, as quoted by the daily.
The emissions tax was prepared by the Finance Ministry, which criticised a measure passed by the previous government under which producers were given more quotas than they required and then were allowed to sell those they did not use without paying tax. The ministry expects the new tax on sales of emissions quotas to raise up to €70 million for the state budget, the daily wrote.
U.S. Steel Košice declined to comment on possible arbitration against the state, saying that it did not normally comment on legal matters.
The emissions tax has also been criticised by other Slovak companies, who have described it as unconstitutional, retroactive and disadvantageous for firms that are investing in cutting their own emissions, the TASR newswire reported.
“We are convinced that the emissions tax violates the [Slovak] constitution, [as well as] international treaties on the protection of investments and European regulations,” said Tibor Gregor, executive director of Klub 500, which represents businesses employing more than 500 people, as quoted by Hospodárske Noviny.