Beijing has accused New Delhi of discriminatory and restrictive trade measures, pointing to the ban on Chinese apps and curbs on foreign direct investment from the neighbouring country.
During a recent meeting at the World Trade Organization (WTO), China alleged that the measures undermine the transparency, stability and predictability of the Indian market.
China said India banned the use of 234 mobile apps, most of which were developed and operated by Chinese internet companies.
“China expressed its concerns about the recent restrictions by the US and India on its mobile applications such as TikTok and WeChat,” said a Geneva-based official.
India, however, hit back saying China had one of the most restrictive digital economy frameworks in the world and should reflect on its own transparency record first and its long-standing reluctance to fully open up to foreign trading services.
India had in April put FDI from countries sharing a land border with it on the approval route, saying the move was aimed at curbing “opportunistic takeover” of Indian companies amid stock market volatility induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government notification did not name any country, but the measures were largely seen as directed at Chinese investments.
India has banned a total of 177 Chinese apps in June and September, citing security and privacy concerns.
China accuses India of discriminatory trade measures during a meeting at the WTOChina criticized both Washington and New Delhi for putting in place measures that it said were inconsistent with global trade rules, restricting cross-border trading services and violating the basic principles and objectives of the multilateral trading system.
On India’s actions, China said the measures deviated from the basic WTO principles, such as the “most favoured nation” principle and the obligation of transparency as these measures have not been notified.
It claimed that the banned apps cover many service sectors such as computer-related services, telecommunications, audio-visual services and financial services where India has made specific commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
It sought a level playing field for Chinese and other countries’ services.
India argued that the measures were fully compliant with GATS commitments and in line with the democratic rights of its citizens to privacy.
“We have given a befitting response. China has one of the most restrictive digital economy frameworks in the world. All software suppliers have to comply with our domestic regulations,” another official said.