Finalising rules of origin for medical devices sector remains sticking-point in India-UK proposed FTA

Finalising the rules of origin for the medical devices sector remains a sticking-point in the proposed free-trade agreement (FTA) between India and the UK and the talks are going on between the two countries to resolve the differences in both goods and services sectors. Huge potential is there in the medical devices sector in India, as it imports about 80 per cent of its requirement, with the US, Germany, China, Singapore and Netherlands being top exporters of such devices to the country.

The government has taken steps to promote domestic manufacturing of medical devices/equipment and attract large investment in the sector. Such schemes/initiatives include Promotion of Medical Device Parks, National Biopharma Mission, and a production-linked Incentive scheme for the sector. The six major categories of medical devices that are being mainly imported into the country include consumables, disposables, electronics and equipment, implants, IVD reagent and surgical instruments.

The 'rules of origin' provision prescribes minimal processing that should happen in the FTA country, so that the final manufactured product may be called originating goods in that country. Under this provision, a country that has inked an FTA with India cannot dump goods from some third country in the Indian market by just putting a label on it. It has to undertake a prescribed value addition in that product to export to India. Rules of origin norms help contain dumping of goods.