In a sign of increasing economic cooperation between the world’s two largest countries by population, China this week said it would move to eliminate tariffs on anti-cancer drugs and other pharmaceuticals made in India.
“China and India are witnessing a growth in pharmaceutical trade,” said Hua Chunying, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “The two sides are in sound communication on opening the Chinese market to drugs from India and conducting dialog and cooperation between the two sides’ pharmaceutical industries,” Hua said, according to a transcript of her remarks posted on the ministry’s website.
China’s move to liberalize trade with India, as well as other nations in the Asia-Pacific region, comes amid a brewing trade war with the United States. U.S. President Donald Trump last week announced the imposition of $34 billion in tariffs on a wide range of Chinese goods and services. Chinese leader Xi Jinping responded swiftly with a series of retaliatory measures.
India may stand to benefit from the U.S.-China trade war as the People’s Republic seeks out alternative markets for its manufacturers. “We believe that greater imports and tariffs reduction by China will bring enormous market opportunities for regional countries, including India and the whole world,” Hua said.
China is already India’s largest trading partner, with total trade between the two countries currently valued at about $71 billion. India’s pharma companies, the largest of which is Mumbai-based Sun Pharmaceutical (NSE:SUNPHARMA), would still need a license from China’s food and drug administration to sell products into the country. Sun in May received U.S. FDA approval for its anti-prostate cancer drug YONSA.
About 4.3 million individuals in China are diagnosed with some form of cancer each year. In addressing the tariff situation, Hua referenced a popular Chinese film, Dying to Survive, that addresses the plight of some of these individuals and their need for greater access to potentially life-saving drugs. “China and India are witnessing a growth in pharmaceutical trade, and the two sides are in sound communication on opening the Chinese market to drugs from India and cooperation between the two sides pharmaceutical industries,” Hua said.