China removes import duties on 28 drugs

NEW DELHI • China says it has removed import duties on 28 medicines, including all cancer drugs, from Tuesday, a move that would help India to export these pharmaceuticals to its neighbour, the Times of India reported.

"China has exempted import tariffs (duties) for 28 drugs, including all cancer drugs, from May 1. Good news for India's pharmaceutical industry and medicine export to China," Chinese Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui said in a tweet, according to the report on Thursday.

"I believe this will help reduce trade imbalance between China and India in the future."

The development came days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to open a new chapter in their relationship after an informal summit last week.

Ties had been strained after a dispute over a stretch of their high-altitude Himalayan border rekindled fears of war.

India has also repeatedly asked for greater market access to China for its goods and services, including IT, pharmaceuticals and agriculture, to reduce the bilateral trade deficit.

The deficit stood at US$51 billion (S$68 billion) in 2016-17.

Mr Luo said that China would further improve the business environment by halving time required to open a business.

"China's door to the outside world will open wider. Indian businesses are welcome," he said.

China has also agreed to set up an industry park in India to increase investments and bridge the trade deficit, the Times of India said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2018, with the headline 'China removes import duties on 28 drugs'. Print Edition | Subscribe