India and the United Kingdom are negotiating a comprehensive trade deal which is expected to bolster the economic relations between the fifth and sixth largest economies of the world. According to reports, pharmaceuticals are among the several sectors on which trade.
India and the United Kingdom are negotiating a comprehensive trade deal which is expected to bolster the economic relations between the fifth and sixth largest economies of the world. According to reports, pharmaceuticals are among the several sectors on which trade negotiations are ongoing.
While the government-to-government negotiations are being undertaken, senior executives from London-based IAG Cargo, were in India last month to further explore opportunities in air cargo transport between the two countries and with Europe, with air transport of pharmaceutical products being a key focus area.
“In terms of pharmaceuticals, we will also, in conjunction with our freight forwarding customers, go and speak with the likes of Dr Reddy’s and Lupin and the big generic manufacturers,” John Cheetham, Chief Commercial Officer, IAG Cargo said in an interaction with ET Infra.
IAG Cargo, is the air cargo business of International Airlines Group and uses the cargo capacity of British Airways and Iberia, the flag carriers of UK and Spain, respectively.
“India has become a powerhouse in terms of manufacturing, originally garment production and perishables, and diversification into pharmaceuticals, and we have seen the benefit of adding capacity to service those industries,” said Cheetham.
According to Ankush Chawla, Area Commercial Manager for South Asia at IAG Cargo, the cargo operator has transported 21 percent more pharmaceutical consignment from India between January-August in the current year compared to the same period in 2021. The cargo operator launched its services to Bengaluru in 2005 and to Hyderabad in 2008. The two cities house most of the major pharmaceutical companies in India.
IAG Cargo currently works with over 25 pharmaceuticals business entities in India.
According to data from the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil), an export promotion council for the pharmaceutical industry promoted by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, the UK was the second biggest export market for the Indian pharmaceutical industry at $704.51 million in 2021-22.
The pandemic also exhibited the potential of collaboration in the pharmaceutical industry between India and the UK. Serum Institute of India is one of the major manufacturers of Covid vaccine Covishield, which was developed by Oxford University and Cambridge-based AstraZeneca plc.
Exports of India’s pharmaceutical products, especially generic drugs are also essential for the UK’s National Health Service.
“A third of our members are headquartered in India, while others have manufacturing bases or contract supplies from the country. Around one-third of medicines used by the NHS (National Health Service) come from India,” wrote Mark Samuels, Chief Executive, British Generic Manufacturers Association in an article for the Confederation of British Industry in April.
Notwithstanding the progress and outcome of the trade deal, IAG Cargo is looking to enhance its India services from pre-pandemic level as demand for Indian pharmaceutical and other products grows in UK and Europe.
The air cargo operator’s hubs are located at London, Heathrow, Madrid, Barcelona, and Dublin. IAG Cargo’s 2022/2023 winter schedule between London and India will be up 8 percent with 112 weekly flights as compared to 104 weekly flights undertaken in 2019.