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PHARMACEUTICAL GLOBAL TRADE COULD BE TARIFF-FREE UNDER JUNE 7 ACCORD

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

PHARMACEUTICAL GLOBAL TRADE COULD BE TARIFF-FREE UNDER JUNE 7 ACCORD struck by G-7 government officials in Tokyo on July 7. According to a U.S. Trade Representative report on the Tokyo negotiations, the "Group of Seven" wealthiest nations -- Japan, the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy -- agreed to lift tariffs and "non-tariff measures" completely on pharmaceuticals, including bulk and finished products and intermediaries. The agreement also covers medical equipment and several other trade categories. The G-7 leaders will bring their agreement to Geneva, Switzerland to seek broader consensus from the 93 nations participating in the Uruguay Round of trade talks, scheduled to begin July 12. The G-7 indicated their intention to seek not only worldwide approval, but also an expansion of the agreement to eliminate tariffs on chemicals completely and to bring down trade barriers existing in other specific market sectors. If a global consensus is reached, the General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade (GATT) system of international trade rules would be amended and expanded. The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association estimated that elimination of the tariffs on pharmaceuticals could add "several hundred million" dollars to industry sales annually. In a July 7 comment on the negotiations, PMA maintained that "tariff barriers cost us several hundred million a year." The association cautioned that "all of the details" of the agreement have yet to be studied; nonetheless, the association concurred with government reports that the agreement could mean "a major breakthrough" on market access. However, PMA noted that the G-7 agreement does not address the lack of patent protection in many countries.
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