India In Discussion Over Bilateral Free Trade Agreement Discussions With Australia

During bilateral free trade agreement discussions with Australia, India is pushing for preferential market access for pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical products, and an interim agreement is anticipated to be reached within a few weeks, according to two government sources who requested anonymity. As part of the accord, India is discussion on a MRA i.e. mutual recognition agreement for pharmaceutical products.

New Delhi had requested swift and easy approvals for products of the India’s generic pharmaceutical, which have previously been authorized by developed nations such as the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States, at the most recent round of talks in Canberra last week.

With exports of $316 million in 2020-21, Australia accounted for 1.63 percent of India’s overseas Pharma shipments, growing 25% year on year.

India is the world’s largest exporter of generic pharmaceuticals. The pharmaceutical sector is the world’s third biggest by volume and 14th in terms of value, according to the annual report 2020-21 produced by the department of pharmaceuticals under the ministry of chemical and fertilizers. Australia has a $12 billion market, of which just 13%, or $1.5 billion, is generic. This implies it has access to more than 80% of branded pharmaceuticals. The cost of therapy is higher when the drug is branded. Our goal is to encourage the adoption of more generic pharmaceuticals that are of excellent quality but are also economical “The second official added.

Piyush Goyal, India’s commerce and industry minister, stated on February 10 that India and Australia will finalize an interim trade agreement within 30 days.

Aside from the MRA, the agreement is anticipated to include textiles, health, education, renewable energy, wines, gems and jewellery, and tourism.

Getting accreditation from nations like Australia, according to CEO and director-general, Ajay Sahai of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations, takes time. For a plant inspection, they usually delegate their health officer. Sahai said that these trips were not common in earlier times. It took one to two years for most nations to receive clearance. It’s nice that the process may be accelerated by MRA, as it was in the case of the UAE

The specifics of the free trade agreement are being negotiated by officials from the Central Drugs Control Department, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India, ABLE Pharma, the India Pharmaceutical Alliance, and the Confederation of Indian Beverage Companies are in negotiation on terms of this bilateral deal.

This conversation is in line with India’s FTA strategy for the pharmaceutical industry. Indian pharmaceutical and medical items that have been licensed by developed countries, including Australia, will receive regulatory approval within 90 days under the newly signed comprehensive economic partnership agreement with the UAE. India is seeking clearance from Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration for its pharmaceutical items, with no substantial tests and quick approval for products licensed by the five industrialized nations.

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