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Japan to Cut Import Duties on Indian Generic Drugs Imports

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Published on : Sep 14, 2012

The 44th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting held last week in Cambodia has certainly brought good news for the Indian Pharmaceuticals industry. During the meeting on the sidelines of the 44th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meet, Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma brought up the issue with his Japanese counterpart Yukio Edano. Yukio Edano is the minister of economy, trade and Industry in Japan.

The issue was raised to help the Indian domestic pharmaceutical industry raise its share in the Japanese market, as part of the FTA (Free Trade Agreement) signed between both the nations. India currently holds less than one per cent share of the Japanese pharmaceutical market. 

The lifting of import duties would help both the nations realize true benefits of CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) signed on August 1, 2011. It is believed that CEPA will help raise the bilateral trade between both the nations considerably up to USD 25 billion by year 2014. The insistence of Anand Sharma to remove all non-tariff barriers is seen as a win-win situation for both the economies. The Indian capability to provide generic drug based medicines for meeting the increasing demand across the Japanese market will help Indian companies to boost their market share in the world’s second largest pharmaceutical market, and provide Japan with cheaper and quality generic medicines.

As part of the agreement, Indian pharmaceutical exporting companies will be treated at par with domestic Japanese pharmaceutical companies, while considering their applications for drug registration. The move is seen as a great sentiment booster across the Indian pharmaceutical companies, who till now were facing trade barriers to expand their Japanese market presence. The prominent non-tariff barriers included language and prolonged and tiring registration processes.

The meet also saw both parties discussing the requirement to quickly start negotiations for nursing and healthcare services to further boost bilateral ties. Ever since CEPA came into enforcement, the trade between both nations has reached USD 18.3 billion in the year 2011 - 2012, a USD 4.5 billion rise from that in the last financial year (2010 – 2011).

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