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Chinese firms in India hit by new import hurdles

Chinese firms like Xiaomi are facing delays in getting approvals from India’s quality control agency for their goods, five industry sources said, as the business environment deteriorates after a clash on their Himalayan border.

Greater scrutiny of Chinese imports follows calls for boycotts from Indian nationalist groups linked to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party, angered by the killing of 20 Indian soldiers in the border clash in June.

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has in recent weeks delayed approvals for mobile phone components and televisions, jeopardising the plans of firms such as Xiaomi as well as Oppo, industry sources in India and China said.

BIS Director General Pramod Kumar Tiwari did not respond to requests for comment. China’s commerce ministry and the foreign ministry did not immediately respond. Xiaomi declined to comment, while Oppo did not respond.

The most serious border tension in decades between the Asian giants has hurt already hurt their economic ties and Indian officials expect the damage to get worse.

“The relationship has gone south dramatically,” said one official, adding India was unlikely to immediately approve several investments proposals from Chinese companies.