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Pharma exports: India asks Japan to remove non-tariff barriers

Economic Times, India

Pharma exports: India asks Japan to remove non-tariff barriers

2 September 2012

PTI/NEW DELHI: India has asked Japan to remove all non-tax barriers to help the domestic industry take advantage of the comprehensive free-trade agreement and increase share in the Japanese market.

The issue was flagged by Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma in his meeting with Japanese minister of economy, trade and industry Yukio Edano last week in Cambodia.

Both the ministers met on the sidelines of the 44th ASEAN Economic Ministers meeting.

"The Indian minister has strongly urged the Japanese side to remove all non-tariff barriers so that real benefits envisaged under the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)," an official said.

The CEPA between India and Japan came into effect from August 1, 2011. Both the sides expects that it would boost bilateral trade to USD 25 billion by 2014.

The official said though there is a considerable increase of drugs exports to Japan, but India’s share is still less than 1 per cent of total Japanese pharmaceutical market.

"The demand of generic medicines in the Japanese market and the capability of India to meet this demand will prove a win-win situation for both the countries," the official said.

Indian pharmaceutical industry was set to gain in a big way from the pact as Japan, the world’s second largest market, had agreed to cut duties on imports of Indian generic drugs.

As per the pact, the Japanese government would accord no less favourable treatment to the applications of Indian companies than it accords to the like applications of its own persons for drug registration. This would greatly help Indian pharmaceutical companies.

An industry expert said that Indian companies are still facing non-tariff barriers like tedious registration process and language in Japanese market.

India has also asked Japan to soon start negotiations on nursing and healthcare professional services.

During the meeting, the Japanese side raised concern over delay in signing of a pact for setting up of a solar power project in Neemrana, Rajasthan.

"On this, the Indian minister assured Japan that the matter has been taken up with the concerned authorities for expeditious finalisation," the official added.

The two-way trade between the countries has increased to USD 18.31 billion in 2011-12 from USD 13.82 billion in 2010-11.

India’s exports to Japan mainly include petroleum, gems and jewellery, transport equipment and machinery, while imports include iron and steel, electronic goods, chemicals and metals.