The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), an arm of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry clarified the earlier issued notification by allowing the pharma industry to continue export of those 13 APIs /Formulations from SEZ units.
As per the SEZ rule, the restriction on exports does not apply to SEZs.
Earlier on March 3, 2020, the DGFT had issued a notification restricting the export of 13 APIs and their formulations – paracetamol, tinidazole, metronidazole, acyclovir, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, progesterone, chloramphenicol, erythromycin salts, neomycin, clindamycin salts, ornidazole with immediate effect.
In response to this notification, the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil) had written a letter to DGFT expressing the industry’s problems faced at various custom offices.
Explaining the issues faced by the industry Dr Dinesh Dua, Chairman, Pharmexcil said, “Soon after the government restricted the export of certain APIs/ formulations, the pharma industry started facing lots of confusion at different custom offices, Indore, Ludhiyana to name a few. As custom officers could not differentiate the use of Harmonised Codes (HS) and they restricted all the shipments made from those APIs/Formulations. And as a result, there are a huge amount of shipping consignments lying at different ports and we (Industry) can not do anything, even after completing all the formalities”.
Understanding the issues raised by the industry and gauging the need of those medicines in international markets, the DGFT issued a notification, dated March 20th which clarifies that the earlier issued notification is applicable for only those items whose description specified in the notification and not on the other APIs/ formulations that may be falling under the same ITC (HS) codes and have different descriptions. Therefore, it is clarified that all other items under the ITC (HS) codes in the notification other than the ones falling under the item description specified against each code in the notification are allowed for exports.
Dua also expressed his concern on behalf of the industry that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare needs to revisit its decision on restricting the export of 26 pharma ingredients and medicines. “We have enough stock to supply these medicines in the country. Based on the shipping country’s requirements, we have prepared the export consignments and for no reasons, all these medicines have come to a halt for exports. Even knowing the fact that these medicines do not have any requirement for the treatment of novel coronavirus,” said Dua.
Industry observers were of the opinion that this clarification would give some relief to Indian pharma exporters.