On March 19, the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products announced that in 2018, the total import and export of Chinese medicines and health products reached US$114.851 billion, and in 2018, China’s pharmaceutical imports experienced negative growth for the first time. For the import and export situation in 2019, the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products predicted that with the easing of Sino-US trade friction, China’s pharmaceutical imports will return to steady growth, but the import prices of preparations may continue to decline.
Export maintains high growth rate
According to data released by the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products, the import and export of Chinese medicines and health products fell by 1.56% year-on-year in 2018. Among them, exports were 64.422 billion US dollars, up 5.96%, and continued to maintain a high growth rate. Imports were 50.429 billion US dollars, down 9.75% year-on-year, and foreign trade surplus was 13.993 billion US dollars.
Data show that in 2018, the export value of Chinese medicines was 3.909 billion US dollars, an increase of 7.39%. The average export price increased by 16.69% year-on-year, which led to an increase in the export volume of Chinese medicines. From the classification of Chinese medicine exports, the plant extracts with the proportion of more than 50% were the most active, with an export value of 2.368 billion US dollars, an increase of 17.79%. Chinese medicine was second, with an export value of US$ 264 million, a year-on-year increase of 5.51%. The export price of Chinese herbal medicines and decoction pieces increased by only 1.98%, but the export volume dropped significantly, with a drop of 11.25%. In particular, the traditional market of Chinese herbal medicines and decoction pieces in Southeast Asia is the main reason for the negative growth of Chinese herbal medicines and decoction pieces for two consecutive years.
In terms of Western medicine products, exports in 2018 reached US$36.83 billion, an increase of 4.03%. Among them, the export of APIs was US$30.48 billion, a year-on-year increase of 3.20%. The major markets such as the United States, the European Union, and India increased by 8.87%, 3.56%, and 1.71%, respectively, and the growth rate slowed down. Compared with 2017, the main reason is that the supply capacity of API companies is relatively sufficient, but external demand is weak, and the growth of API exports is limited.
In addition, the export of preparations reached US$4.11 billion, an increase of 18.64% year-on-year. The performance in the regulated market is strong. The EU, Australia and the United States rank among the top three in the regulated market, with 12.07, 4.22 and 387 million respectively. In the past two years, the exports to the EU market have grown rapidly, with an increase of 53.51% in 2017. In 2011, the growth rate reached a new high of 80.30%, and the export volume surged by 1.207 billion US dollars.
In 2018, the export of medical devices continued to grow steadily, with an export value of US$23.63 billion, an increase of 8.88% year-on-year. Among them, medical dressings, disposable consumables, diagnostic and therapeutic equipment, health rehabilitation equipment, and dental equipment all achieved steady growth, with growth of 7.48%, 9.14%, 7.18%, 10.79%, and 18.50%, respectively. On the whole, the coordination of the development of China’s medical device foreign trade has been continuously improved, the trade structure has been continuously optimized, the quality and efficiency have continued to improve, and new kinetic energy has continued to accumulate.