China urges India to end trade ‘discrimination’, but holds off retaliation after deadly border clash

04-Jul-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

China on Thursday said it had not taken any economic retribution against India following a deadly border clash between the two countries, while signalling it had little intention of engaging in a tit-for-tat trade dispute with its neighbour.

India this week banned 59, mostly Chinese mobile apps, amid a wave of calls to boycott Chinese-made products and review Chinese investment.

Commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said Beijing hoped India would stop targeting Chinese exports to ensure “healthy and stable” trade ties between the two nations.

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“China attaches importance to strengthening pragmatic cooperation with India in various fields, and hopes both sides will move toward each other,” Gao said at a weekly press briefing.

China and India have agreed to de-escalate tensions following last month’s clash between troops in the Himalayas, which resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers. Beijing has not acknowledged any casualties.

Military commanders on both sides agreed to disengage frontline troops “in batches” after their latest round of talks, Chinese media reported on Thursday.

On Wednesday, following complaints from Indian industry bodies, Indian customs began clearing shipments from China that had been stuck at ports.

Still, anti-China sentiment remains high in India.

[China] hopes that the Indian side will immediately correct the discriminatory practises against China and Chinese enterprises

Gao Feng

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi fanned the flames on Wednesday by deleting his account on Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter. Meanwhile, traders associations and politicians have demanded boycotts of Chinese goods.

Among the Chinese mobile apps banned by India over national security concerns were short video app TikTok and messaging app WeChat. China has protested the ban and says it may violate World Trade Organisation rules.

“[China] hopes that the Indian side will immediately correct the discriminatory practises against China and Chinese enterprises,” Gao said.

Chinese exports to India were worth $74.83 billion in 2019, far exceeding China’s $17.98 billion imports from India, customs data showed.

China’s top exports to India are mobile phones and handsets, while it imported mostly cotton yarn, iron ore and copper.

Beijing’s relatively soft approach to India marks a sharp contrast to its response to the United States after Washington imposed tariffs on Chinese products in 2018. China immediately hit back in a tit-for-tat manner, leading to an all-out trade war.

China has been eyeing India as a potential ally in international relations to counter the influence of US-led developed economies. China and India belong to the BRICS group, which also includes Russia, Brazil and South Africa.


Category: China

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