China slaps new fees on Mongolian exporters amid Dalai Lama row (Reuters U.S. – December 1, 2016)

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A major border crossing between China and Mongolia has imposed new fees on commodity shipments between the two countries, amid a diplomatic row sparked by the visit to Ulaanbaatar of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama last week.

The Dalai Lama is cherished as a spiritual leader in predominantly Buddhist Mongolia, but China regards him as a dangerous separatist and warned the visit could damage bilateral relations.

The crossing at Gashuun Sukhait is used to export copper from the giant Oyu Tolgoi mine run by Rio Tinto, as well as coal from the Tavan Tolgoi mine, which China’s state-owned Shenhua Group is currently in the running to develop.

The crossing in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia would charge vehicles a transit fee of 10 yuan ($1.45) each time they pass through the border, and would also impose an additional charge of 8 yuan per tonne for any goods they are delivering, according to a notice issued by local authorities and published by the Mongolian Mining Journal on Wednesday.

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 cargo, the notice said, adding that the new charges would come into effect on Dec 1.

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