India and China have reached an agreement for the reduction of tariffs on Chinese imports of Indian medicines, particularly cancer drugs. The information was shared by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on July 9, 2018.
China also agreed to increase imports of Indian medicines, particularly anti-cancer drugs, as a part of its moves to broaden its trade relations amidst its on-going trade war with the United States.
The agreement is expected to usher in great opportunities for India and other countries in the region.
• India and China had both slashed import tariffs for a range of products with effect from July 1, following the fourth round of negotiations under the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), which also includes Bangladesh, Laos, South Korea and Sri Lanka.
• Under the APTA, China said that it would reduce tariffs on 8549 items including chemical, medical, clothing, soybean, steel & aluminium and agricultural products, while India agreed to do the same for 3142 products. China had agreed to slash tariffs by 33 per cent.
• India had particularly pressed China to open up its market for pharmaceuticals, along with rice and sugar imports to bridge the trade imbalance.
• The same was highlighted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his April 28 Wuhan Summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
• There is widespread demand in China for Indian drugs, especially cancer-curing medicines, which are often available in China at one-tenth the cost of their western counterparts.
About Asia Pacific Trade Agreement
• The Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), previously named the Bangkok Agreement, was signed in 1975 as an initiative of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
• It is the oldest preferential trade agreement among the developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
• The agreement was signed by seven participating nations including Bangladesh, China, India, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Republic of Korea, and Sri Lanka.
• The main objective of the agreement is to boost economic development among the seven participating states through the adoption of mutually beneficial trade liberalisation measures that will contribute to intra-regional trade expansion and provide for economic integration through coverage of merchandise goods, services, investment and trade facilitation.
• Notably, APTA is the only operational trade agreement linking China and India, two of the fastest growing markets in the world, and other major markets such as the Republic of Korea.
• APTA is open to all developing member countries. It is a truly region-wide trade agreement spanning East and South Asia, with the potential to expand to other sub-regions, including Central Asia and the Pacific.
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