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DTI woos Indian pharma companies

/ 04:55 AM October 19, 2019

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) wants Indian pharmaceutical companies to set up shop here, an invitation that could then lead to more Philippine exports to India.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez had a consultation with Indian businesspeople on Friday, which came in time with the state visit of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind.

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On the sidelines of the consultation, Lopez told reporters that he was inviting Indian companies to put up pharmaceutical manufacturing plants in the Philippines, a move that could help drive down the cost of medicine and narrow the trade deficit with India.

Health Undersecretary Enrique Domingo said in the same event that India exported $200 million worth of medicines to the Philippines every year, most of which came from the Indian government itself.

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“We just want them to produce here so they won’t be subjected to tariffs and trade costs [because] you would be doing the medicine here and you [would] create jobs,” Lopez said.

He said incentives might even be extended to projects that produced certain innovative medicine under the so-called strategic investment priorities plan (SIPP), although he did not commit to any timeline for this.

Under the current move to rationalize tax incentives, only industries listed under the SIPP can avail themselves of tax incentives.

For the sake of continuity, the first SIPP would cover the same industries as those in the Board of Investment’s Investment Priorities Plan, such as certain kinds of manufacturing activities.

Lopez said future versions of the SIPP could include high technology innovations, which might include pharmaceutical production. —ROY STEPHEN C. CANIVEL

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TAGS: Department of Trade and Industry, DTI
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