Emissions trading is an established practice in air quality management programs around the world. China has been evaluating emission trading schemes since the 1980’s and is now planning major expansion in geographical scope and depth. Specifically, China is considering emissions trading as a way to achieve the Total Emission Control limits in the 12th Five Year Plan, and as a way of mitigating new industrial growth. Previously, China experimented with emissions trading for sulfur dioxide (SO2) and water borne pollutants. This paper examines emissions trading as an air quality management tool and discusses how to apply that tool effectively. No emission trading system is perfect but it is possible to keep defects to a minimum, so that the economy and environment both prosper.