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Phl, India eye pharma zone

PHL-INDIA INVESTMENT FORUM: The Philippine Board of Investments, in collaboration with the Indian Embassy and the Philippine-India Business Council, yesterday held the Philippines-India Investment Forum at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City. The Philippine panel is headed by Trade Undersecretary for Industry Promotion Group Nora Terrado (second from the left) and BOI International Investment Promotion Service director Angelica Cayas (right). The Indian panel on the other hand is led by Indian Embassy first secretary N. Ramakrishnan (second from right) and supported by the Philippines-India Business Council chairman Johnny Chotrani (left).

MANILA, Philippines -  The Philippines and India are exploring the possibility of setting up a pharmaceutical zone in the country to encourage the entry of more Indian manufacturing firms.

Indian Embassy first secretary N. Ramakrishnan said the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry and India’s Ministry of Commerce have started discussions on the planned pharma zone as early as last year.

“It is an idea between both governments. We had a bilateral mechanism for the joint working group for the two countries and that issue was discussed last year,” Ramakrishnan said.

“A pharma zone is a zone where Indian companies can set up manufacturing here to cater to the Philippines and also market it outside,” he added.

Ramakrishnan said it would now depend on the reception and interest of Indian pharmaceutical companies to take the project forward.

According to the official, Indian pharmaceutical companies are mostly involved in trading in the Philippines and not yet in manufacturing.

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“The basic thing is to see that ASEAN is a big market. If Indian companies come and consider, they can cater to this big market. Generics market is also very big here in the Philippine market so they can also cater to that,” Ramakrishnan said.

India is among the biggest pharmaceutical markets globally, seen to rise as the sixth largest in absolute size by 2020.

“By setting up manufacturing facilities in the Philippines, Indian companies can avail of the duty free markets of ASEAN and EU products can benefit from significant tariff differentials if produced in the Philippines,” Trade Undersecretary Nora Terrado said.

She said India has always been regarded as one of the most important economic trade and investment partners of the Philippines.

India ranked as the country’s 16th top trading partner and 20th export market in 2015.

On the investment side, India is the 13th major source of foreign investments for the Philippines in both 2015 and 2016.

“The Philippines looks to tap new and investment opportunities with India aside from IT-BPM in which we have numerous collaborations. India can explore opportunities in the country’s manufacturing sector,” Terrado said.

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