PH, India urged to strengthen trade relations

28 September, 2020 12:00 AM printer

NEW DELHI: The Philippines and India must take advantage of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic to strengthen its economic and trade relations.

This is according to the panelists of a digital session called “India-Philippines: Bilateral Economic and Trade Relationship” on Friday, report agencies.

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) President Benedicto Yujuico said that, as the country battles the pandemic, it should learn from India’s pharmaceutical industry. “Our country has much to learn from India. Considered by many as the pharmacy of the poor, India is the largest provider of generic drugs in the world, accounting for over 50 percent of global demand for various vaccines,” he said.

As a country with a population of over 100 million and where health care spending accounts for about half of household spending, Yujuico said the Philippines was a viable market for Indian medicines and an alternative production location for the South Asian country’s pharmaceutical companies.

He emphasized that the Philippines has a skilled workforce, cheaper drug development and research costs, and an excellent base to reach Asia-Pacific markets.

“The continuing presence of world-class multinational pharmaceutical companies in the country is proof of our country’s capacity to host Indian pharmaceutical production expansion in the Philippines,” the PCCI head said.

In terms of information technology (IT), he added that India could help the Philippines strengthen and expand its own IT industry.

“With Covid-19 compelling local firms to adopt IT, financial technology and IT-driven new business models, there is certainly an opportunity for us to explore how to enhance our innovation ecosystem to generate new ideas and to transform these ideas into new products, services and processes,” Yujuico said.