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India accused of erecting barriers at Nathu La

"India has unilaterally imposed restrictions on trade through Nathu La," vice chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region said.

india Updated: Aug 11, 2006 09:54 IST

China has accused India of erecting unilateral and restrictive trade barriers at the strategic NathuLa border trade market, which was opened in July with much fanfare after a 44-year hiatus.

"India has unilaterally imposed restrictions on trade through NathuLa," vice chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region Hao Peng said in Lhasa.

Hao told a group of visiting Indian journalists hosted by the Chinese government that the border trade through NathuLa was running at a "low level" and was "not ideal."

Hao complained that mere 15 Chinese items had been permitted to enter the Indian market from the Chinese side. At the same time, the Indian government had allowed the export of only 29 items to China.

When China opened a trade mart at Renqinggang, some 16 km from the Nathu La pass, India opened the Changgu mart in neighbouring Sikkim.

However, while Indian business people can stay at China's Renqinggang mart, Chinese traders cannot spend the night at the Indian mart, Hao noted.

"Trade at the Renqinggang mart is currently less than 100,000 Yuan (12,500 US Dollars) per week, far less than what we had expected," Hao was quoted as saying.

China does not impose any restrictions on cross-border trade except for illegal items, and hostels have been built to accommodate Indian traders, he said.

"I hope the Indian government will adopt a more egalitarian approach to cross-border trade with China," he said.

First Published: Aug 11, 2006 09:54 IST