China on Monday said that specific measures have been formulated on promoting China-India pharmaceutical trade cooperation and granting greater access to drugs from India.
The widened trade deficit between India and China has always remained a matter of concern. An SBI report released in June had raised concerns on the fact that demand for Indian goods was on a decline in the Chinese market whereas India’s imports from China had risen, widening the trade deficit between the two countries. The report had suggested that India should try to tap sectors such as pharmaceuticals and agriculture — particularly in commodities like rice — in the Chinese market with an aim to bridge the widening trade gap.
Now with the recent move by China lower tariffs on and increase the imports of generic Indian drugs, India will be able to tap the massive Chinese market which demands the availability of cheaper medicines. China has recently opened its arms to the Indian pharmaceutical industry, agreeing to reduce tariffs on and increase imports of Indian medicines, especially anti-cancer drugs.
China on Monday said that specific measures have been formulated on promoting China-India pharmaceutical trade cooperation and granting greater access to drugs from India. China, however, did not provide clarity on whether it has agreed to grant licenses to Indian companies to sell cancer drugs in its massive market, a PTI report said.
“China and India are witnessing a growth in pharmaceutical trade, and the two sides are in sound communication on opening the Chinese market to drugs from India and conducting dialogue and cooperation between the two sides’ pharmaceutical industries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a press conference on Monday. “We believe that stronger pharmaceutical trade cooperation will contribute to the well-being of the people in our two countries,” Hua said in a regular news briefing.
The announcement from China came days after a Chinese movie on a leukemia patient highlighted the need for paving the way for import of cheap Indian medicines. “A very popular film called Dying to Survive that is on show these days touches on the issue of anti-cancer drugs from India,” Hua mentioned in the press briefing.
Starting July 1, both India and China slashed import tariffs of a range of products following the fourth round of negotiations under the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA). The agreement also includes four other countries Bangladesh, Lao PDR, Republic of Korea, and Sri Lanka. China said it would reduce tariffs on 8,549 items including chemical and agricultural products, while India, on its part, exchanged tariff concessions on 3,142 tariff lines with all member countries and special concessions on 48 tariff lines for LDCs, with Bangladesh and Lao PDR.
“We have taken the initiative to expand imports, reduced the import tariffs by a large margin for cars, parts and components and daily necessities, and adopted zero tariffs for anti-cancer drugs. These positive measures taken on the grounds of our own development needs have been well received by the relevant countries,” said Hua. “China will continue with its opening up at a pace set by itself in accordance with its goals and development needs. We believe that greater imports and tariffs reduction by China will bring enormous market opportunities for regional countries including India and the whole world.”