The purpose of the present article is to consider optimal trade policies for biofuels, taking into account the potential for carbon leakage and the complex set of policies used or discussed for biofuels. First, the authors consider the case of optimal trade policies and find that the combination of an import standard and a border carbon adjustment welfare dominates using only a border carbon adjustment (BCA). The import standard should be set such that the emissions per unit of output is as if the foreign biofuels industry were subject to the globally optimal green house gas (GHG) emission tax. Second, the authors study the same trade policies in the context of a blending mandate, which significantly alters the way the market works. Given the suboptimal implementation of a blending mandate, the optimal BCA depends on the domestic subsidy to biofuels production. High levels of subsidies may in fact imply a negative BCA; that is, the optimal policy would be to subsidize imports.
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