New Delhi: India has taken the maximum number of trade related measures at the global level to tackle the challenge posed by Covid-19, reports complied by the World Trade Organization (WTO) have stated.
Ever since Covid-19 hit India on 30 January 2020 and till now, India has taken trade related “measures” 12 times. Trade measures denote the steps taken by a country on the export-import front in the wake of Covid-19.
The first such step that India took through the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, Department of Commerce, was on 31 January, which was to ban the export of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), including clothing and various types of masks that are needed to protect an individual from getting infected.
On 2 February, the Ministry of Finance removed the health cess that was being levied on imports of certain medical and surgical instruments and apparatus.
Then, on 3 March, the Government of India prohibited the export of multiple Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) that are used to manufacture medicines that are used in fighting Covid-19 infection.
On 19 March, India banned the export of surgical masks, disposable masks, ventilators and textile that is needed to produce masks and coverall suit. On 23 March, India passed the Financial Bill which decreased the import tariffs (from 10% to 5%) on medical or surgical instruments and apparatus.
Next, on 24 March, India further prohibited the export of any kind of ventilators, including artificial respiratory apparatus, oxygen therapy apparatus and sanitizers.
On 25 March, India banned the export of Hydroxychloroquine and formulations made from Hydroxychloroquine. Hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, is shown to have shortened the time to clinical recovery of Covid-19 patients.
On 4 April, India prohibited the export of Covid-19 diagnostic kits.
On 6 April, as widely reported, India lifted the ban on APIs that it had imposed on 3 March.
On 9 April, India removed the import tariffs on ventilators, face masks, surgical masks, personal protection equipment, Covid-19 testing kits and on materials needed for the manufacture of such items.
On 17 April, India lifted the prohibition on the export of formulation made of Paracetamol. On 6 May, India banned the export of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.