PCCI woos Indian pharma firms to put up factories in PH

By Louella D. Desiderio, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 01 2015 07:15 AM | Updated as of Apr 01 2015 03:15 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The country’s largest business organization, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), is encouraging India’s pharmaceutical companies to put up alternative manufacturing and research facilities in the Philippines to enjoy tariff-free entry of medicine products to Southeast Asian markets.

“The Philippines should not only be a viable market for cheap Indian medicine. Our country could also be an alternative production location for Indian pharmaceutical companies,” PCCI chairman Miguel Varela said in a statement.

The PCCI last week held a business forum for a delegation from the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil).

Pharmexcil, which is organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India, is focused on promoting India’s healthcare and pharmaceutical products in the world.

Varela said the Philippines could serve as a good location for India’s pharmaceutical companies given its lower costs.

Locating in the Philippines would also allow Indian pharmaceutical firms to bring their products to other countries that are part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at zero duty.

“The continuing presence of world-class multinational pharmaceutical

companies in the country is proof of the country’s capacity to host Indian pharmaceutical production expansion in the country,” Varela said.

PCCI president Alfredo Yao said the Generics Act of 1988 and the Cheaper Medicines Act of 2008 has paved the way for a market for generics medicine in the Philippines from India, Pakistan and Taiwan.

For his part, Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Lalduhthlana Ralte said the recent Pharmexcil visit shows the growing interest of Indian firms to explore opportunities here.

India wants to increase its trade with the Philippines given opportunities not only in pharmaceuticals, but also in other sectors such as agriculture, other manufactured goods and the business process outsourcing sector.

This, as Ralte noted that the trade between the two countries “is nowhere near the potential that is there.”

Bilateral trade of India and the Philippines reached close to $2 billion last year, with India exporting $1.2 billion worth of goods to the Philippines.

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