China to cut tariffs on Indian cancer drugs

By NT Bureau Published on Jul 11, 2018 12:20 PM IST

Chennai: The pharmaceutical trade between China and India is growing continuously, as both countries have stepped up negotiations after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping during the 28 April Wuhan informal summit.

The two sides have maintained sound communication on promoting the entry of Indian pharmaceuticals into the Chinese market.

On the back of this, India and China have reached an agreement on reduction of tariffs on Chinese imports of Indian medicines, particularly cancer drugs, the Foreign Ministry here said.

However, it is not yet clear whether China has agreed to grant licences to Indian companies to sell cancer drugs there.

About 4.3 million people are diagnosed with cancer annually in China, according to a report of China Central Television. Indian drugs, specially cancer curing medicines, are in big demand in China as they are far cheaper than their western counterparts.

"We believe expansion of imports and slashing of tariffs on anti-cancer medicines will also usher in great opportunities for India and other countries in the region," she added without providing any further detail.

Earlier in May, China had lifted tariffs on the import of cancer drugs. The announcement had, however, failed to enthuse Indian companies as they cannot legally market their drugs in China as it requires license from the country's Food and Drug Administration.

India has been demanding opening of China's IT and pharmaceutical sectors as part of measures to reduce a $51 billion trade deficit in over $84 billion bilateral trade.

Speaking about cutting tariffs on India medicines, Hua said, "As far as I know, the pharmaceutical trade between China and India is growing continuously, and the two sides have maintained sound communication on promoting the entry of Indian pharmaceuticals into the Chinese market and carrying out dialogue and exchanges and cooperation on the pharmaceutical industry between China and India."

"The relevant departments have formulated specific measures on developing bilateral cooperation in the pharmaceutical trade between China and India and promoting the expansion of Indian drugs into the Chinese market. It is believed that expanding and deepening China-India pharmaceutical trade cooperation will further enhance the health and well-being of the two peoples," she said.