The CBAM applies in the EU beginning 1 October 2023 and aims at equalizing the price of carbon as paid by EU manufacturers operating under the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and goods imported into the EU. The primary objective of this system is to fight against carbon leakage, in a context of strengthening EU's climate ambitions.

In a transitional period from October 2023 to December 2025, the CBAM covers industrial sectors with high carbon emissions and risk of carbon leakage: cement, iron and steel, aluminum, fertilizers, electricity and hydrogen.

For those sectors, the CBAM brings about changes for various stakeholders:

  • Over the course of the transitional period, importers bear responsibility for calculating and reporting to the European Commission carbon emissions in line with EU requirements. There is no payment of financial adjustments during this period.
  • From January 2026 onwards, importers will:

i) be responsible for procuring and surrendering CBAM certificates that reflect the carbon price of the embedded emissions in the covered goods that are imported into the EU; and

ii) be liable for ensuring the independent verification of emission calculations.

  • The phasing-in of the CBAM in the period 2026-2034 will take place in parallel with the phasing-out of free allocations under the EU ETS.

Before the entry into force of the definitive CBAM system in 2026, the EU will conduct a review of the CBAM's functioning during its transitional period. At the same time, the product scope will be reviewed to assess the desirability of including other goods produced in sectors covered by the EU ETS in the scope of the CBAM.

How Mayer Brown Can Help

Mayer Brown has a wealth of experience in advising on legal aspects of the EU ETS, including on its policy and regulatory aspects. Furthermore, we are well versed in customs rules and procedures as well as in the anti-circumvention rules.

Our lawyers assist reporting declarants with the data collection, preparation and submission of CBAM reports through the Transitional Registry.

We guide reporting declarants as well as their suppliers on CBAM reporting obligations, including on the legal aspects of the calculation of embedded emissions, use of default values and reporting of information regarding carbon price in the country of origin.

Our team advises on circumvention and product mixing risks as well on contractual clauses addressing CBAM reporting obligations.

We work with experienced and reliable experts that support companies on a technical side to build and implement data solutions for effective CBAM compliance.

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