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China’s plan to import drugs fails to enthuse Indian firms

China’s plan to import drugs fails to enthuse Indian firms
May 14
17:24 2018

BEIJING: China’s much-publicized announcement to slash tariffs on 28 medicines, including cancer drugs from India, has failed to create any buzz among the Indian pharmaceutical firms here as exports to China are possible only after lengthy field trials and approvals, which could take years, an official at an Indian firm has said.
On May 4, China, the second largest market for pharmaceuticals after the US, said it has removed import duties on as many as 28 medicines, including all cancer drugs, from May 1, a move which would help India to export these pharmaceuticals to the neighboring country.
“China has exempted import tariffs (duties) for 28 drugs, including all cancer drugs, from May 1. Good news for India’s pharmaceutical industry and medicine export to China. I believe this will help reduce trade imbalance between China and India in the future,” Chinese Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui said in a tweet.

Luo’s announcement generated optimism that India’s persistent demand from China to provide opening for Indian pharmaceutical firms to market their economically priced drugs compared to the multinational firms may be realized.
However, the official with the Indian pharmaceutical company said it is surprising to see the reports from the Indian media that the move to reduce tariffs will pave the way for exports of Indian pharmaceutical firms.
“For Indian pharmaceutical companies, it is not going to be much different as imports of Indian drugs both generic and anti-cancer is possible only with the approval of China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA),” the official told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
The announcement has not created any enthusiasm among the Indian firms as for both oral and injectable drugs a lengthy process of clearances is required in China which may take anywhere between two and half years to three years.
India has been lobbying actively with China to ensure quick clearances but it has not worked so far, he said. Any exports to China at this point of time is possible only if Beijing accepts certification by US Food and Drug Administration, which has approved a whole host of Indian drugs.
“As regards India benefiting because China has lifted import tariffs, I do not see it as a measure that is specifically favoring the Indian pharmaceutical products alone,” V Viswanath, a Beijing based senior consultant for Indian, Chinese as well as multi-national pharmaceutical firms told PTI.

“This will benefit all imported products irrespective of which the country of origin is,” he said, highlighting the long drawn out struggle by Indian pharmaceutical firms to enter Chinese markets despite persistent campaign.
India has been asking China for long to open up its IT and pharmaceutical firms to reduce the trade deficit which has claimed to over USD 50 billion.
The announcement by China to import Indian drugs need to be “followed up with a more specific bilateral arrangement between China and India”, he said. PTI

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