Swiss Medtech welcomes free trade agreement with India

Lower customs fees for most medical technology products

Swiss Medtech welcomes the adoption of the free trade agreement (FTA) between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries and India – especially in the light of increasing protectionist tendencies of key global sales markets.

As an export-oriented industry, the Swiss medtech sector is directly impacted by the FTA with India. Presently, India still imposes high import duties on medtech products. The new FTA stipulates that India will completely abolish customs duties (currently between 11% & 13.75%) for a substantial proportion of medtech products within a maximum of ten years – or reduce them by 50% within five years. The agreement covers 100% of medical machinery («capital goods») for equipping hospitals, such as magnetic resonance tomographs or ultrasound equipment. The tariff reduction also includes a sizeable proportion of medical devices used in therapeutic procedures such as pacemakers, transfusion equipment, respiratory and hearing aids, as well as visual aids, syringes, and cannulas.

The Swiss medtech industry is renowned for its high level of innovation. India has ratified the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The FTA will now enable further improvements to be achieved. Key for the medtech industry, however, will be the effective implementation and enforcement of these agreements.

Swiss Medtech represents more than 750 members in its role as industry association for Swiss medical technology. With 67,500 employees and a contribution of 11.5% to the positive trade balance, medical technology is an economically significant sector in Switzerland. Swiss Medtech advocates for conditions that enable the medtech industry to perform at peak capacity and provide first-class medical care.