Chinese API makers accelerate exports after Indian lockdown

By GT staff reporters Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/25 17:18:40

API firms hasten exports after India imposes lockdown

Shah TC, an Indian API marketing company, exhibits at the 19th Chemical Pharmaceutical Ingredient China Exhibition in Shanghai in June 2019. Photo: VCG

Chinese makers of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) are accelerating exports, as the global API market is expected to see a 20 percent shortage after India, another major exporter, imposed a national lockdown to stem the coronavirus assault. 

Export orders for China's APIs indispensable for treatment of respiratory ailments are growing. These products include paracetamol, azithromycin and antibiotics, an API foreign trade manager surnamed Chang told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Amid surging demand for APIs due to COVID-19, many Chinese manufacturers outside Central China's Hubei Province have resumed production now. Jiangsu Chengyi Pharmaceutical Co told the Global Times that it had restarted manufacturing during the Spring Festival holiday. The company's APIs are mainly for export to the US and European markets,  according to Chinese media reports. 

Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Co told the Global Times on Wednesday that its API export orders were not affected by the virus outbreak, and shipments increased as production resumes.

The company exports APIs including antiviral and cardiovascular products to more than 200 countries and regions.

India and China are two large API exporters in the world. However, the Indian government has restricted exports of 26 APIs and formulations such as paracetamol since March 3 for fear of domestic shortages, Indian news the Economic Times reported.

Given India's lockdown and the disrupted international logistics that hinder China's API exports, the global API market will face a shortage of at least 20 percent, Chang said, and other countries may rush to China to seek APIs.

He said that a tough problem is that products can't be shipped overseas due to wide flight and shipping suspensions. "An order that I received in December hasn't been shipped yet," Chang said, noting that overseas demand may drop as more people are staying home.

Zhejiang Huahai also said the impact of the COVID-19 on overseas transport and logistics is apparent and the lack of cargo trucks affected the company's exports. The company now mainly relies on cargo express and shipping to relieve transport bottleneck. 

In 2019, China exported about 10.12 million tons of APIs, up 8.83 percent year-on-year, data from the China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Medicines & Health Products showed. According to the chamber, China exported APIs to 189 countries and regions, mainly in Asia, Europe and North America.

Newspaper headline: API firms hasten exports after India imposes lockdown


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