New Delhi, November 20 (Language) ‘Rule of origin’ for the medical devices sector remains a hurdle in the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between India and Britain and talks are on to resolve the differences. An officer gave this information.
Rules of origin are the criteria required to determine the national source of a product. Its importance is reflected in the fact that in many cases duties and restrictions depend on the source of imports.
India has huge potential in the medical equipment sector as it imports about 80 per cent of its requirement from the US, Germany, China, Singapore and the Netherlands, which remain the top exporters of these equipment for the country.
“In the medical devices sector, there are many issues related to the rule of origin,” the official said. The demand for concession in customs duty is also an issue. He said that talks are going on between the two countries to resolve differences in goods and services sectors.
The government has taken several steps to promote domestic manufacturing of medical devices and attract more investment in this sector. Such schemes/initiatives include Medical Device Parks, National Biopharma Mission, and Production Linked Incentive Scheme for (Medical Devices) sector.
There are six main categories of medical devices imported into the country, including single-use medical devices, electronics and instruments, implants, surgical instruments, etc.
The ‘Rule of Origin’ provision provides for minimum processing in the FTA country so that the final manufactured product can be called a finished good in that country.
Under this provision, a country that has signed an FTA with India cannot simply ‘label’ goods from a third country and send them to the Indian market.
According to experts, India should avoid giving duty concessions because the government here is promoting domestic manufacturing of these devices.
“India may consider giving concessions to devices that are not manufactured in India,” said Rajinder Singh Kanwar of the Export Promotion Council for Medical Devices.
About 26 policy areas/chapters have been included in the negotiations between India and Britain for this agreement. India is exploring a larger market for its pharmaceutical products under the proposed agreement with Britain.
“In the pharma sector, we are expecting a positive outcome from the India-UK agreement,” the official said.
India and the UK had started talks for the FTA in January 2022, with the aim of concluding the talks by Diwali (by 24 October 2022) but the deadline was missed due to political developments in the UK.
Bilateral trade between the two countries is expected to increase from US$ 17.5 billion in 2021-22 to US$ 20.36 billion in 2022-23.
Language Subhash Naresh