By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, December 2: Amid political tension between the two China and Mongolia after the Dalai Lama’s visit to Ulaanbaatar and cancellation of an important bilateral talk, China has imposed additional fees on commodity deliveries between the two countries.
Authorities in charge of Gants Mod crossing in Inner Mongolia have imposed the new fees and according to its notice, a transit fee of 10 yuan will be charged on vehicles each time they pass through the border, and an additional charge of 8 yuan per tonne will be imposed on any goods that they are delivering.
Gants Mod crossing (China) and the Gashuun Sukhait crossing (Mongolia) are the major border crossings between the two countries used by some of Mongolia’s major mines, including Erdenes Tavantolgoi, Tavan Tolgoi and Oyu Tolgoi mine.
Moreover, the notice also informs that for precious metals and copper concentrate worth more than 10,000 yuan per tonne, exporters would be charged 0.2 percent of the total value of the shipment. The new charges have already been in effect since yesterday.
According to mining analysts, around 900 trucks pass through Gashuun Sukhait every day and around 133,000 tonnes of copper concentrate is delivered into China every month via the crossing.
Though the monk who hosted the Tibetan leader clarified that the visit was purely religious and separate from politics, this diktat of China could be seen as a consequence for geo-political misstep of Mongolia for inviting the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan spiritual leader visited the capital of Mongolia for a four-day visit from 18 November.
However, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang did not confirm whether it is related to the Dalai Lama’s visit by saying he was unaware of the situation.
Last month, China ‘indefinitely postponed’ an important bilateral talk following the visit of the exile Tibetan leader labeled as ‘separatist’ by China. The meeting was intended for negotiations on soft loans and the projects on Tavan Tolgoi railroad, a copper plant and coal gasification project.
With the country in financial crisis, this could add to the misery of Mongolia which is scheduled to hold talks today with international financial institutions and International Monetary Fund for emergency loans.