India to benefit as China lifts import duties on 28 drugs: Chinese envoy
04 May 2018
China on Thursday announced the lifting of import duties on as many as 28 medicines, including all cancer drugs, from 1 May, and further open up business - a move that would also help India to export these pharmaceuticals to the neighbouring country.
During an informal summit between Chinese President Xi Jingping and Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi last month, China had pledged to look into the sticky issue of greater market access to Indian farm products and to resolve any issue that hurts the prospect of Indian pharmaceutical exports to that country.
"China has exempted import tariffs (duties) for 28 drugs, including all cancer drugs, from 1 May. 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.
The Chinese move is seen as part of an attempt to ward off a trade war with the US and pharmaceutical industry executives are sceptical about any meaningful gains to India. They say the choice of mainly cancer products for the exemption suggests the decision is aimed primarily to placate the US.
More than tariffs, non-tariff barriers are the real issue for Indian pharma companies seeking to export to China, they say. India’s exports of pharma products to China were negligible - $37.44 million in the first 11 months of 2017-18.
China has built a massive trade surplus with both the United States as well as India and it is unlikely to forgo that advantage any time in the near future.
Ahead of the US-China trade talks, an executive meeting of the State Council chaired by Chinese Prime Minister Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday decided to further improve business environment by halving time required to open a business. “China’s door to the outside world will open wider. Indian businesses are welcome!,” Lao tweeted.
The US administration under President Donald Trump has already announced its intention to target China through a raft of measures, including plans to impose tariffs on goods worth $50 billion, over and above duties on steel and aluminium supplies.