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China, Protectionism and India's Vitamin C Shortage

Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on September 16, 2009

Don’t catch a cold in India. The Economic Times reports on a sudden shortage of vitamin C in the country. “Due to curbs on raw material imports from China, drug manufacturers are finding it unviable to produce the medicine whose retail price is controlled by the government,” the paper (a content partner of BusinessWeek) reports today. Companies from China produce most of the world’s vitamin C as well as the key ingredients in many other vitamins, antibiotics and pain killers. New Delhi in June announced it would extend for another five years an anti-dumping tariff on Made-in-China Vitamin C. Now Indian companies complain they’re unable to produce the vitamin without imported raw materials from China, leading the Economic Times to report there’s an “acute shortage” in the country.

It’s unclear why, after five years of anti-dumping restrictions against Chinese imports, there’s suddenly a shortage of vitamin C. Still, with President Obama’s administration now imposing anti-dumping fees on Chinese-made tires, the Indian case is especially interesting. At first, India’s anti-dumping tariffs were for five years, but during that time apparently nothing changed and the government decided India needed five more years of protection. The Obama folks are saying their tariff will only last for three years. But that means it expires in 2012, when Obama will presumably be in the midst of his re-election campaign. Hard to see how he ends the policy then.

Reader Comments


September 16, 2009 3:07 PM

From the title and the first line it seemed that we(Indians) wouldn't be able to procure Vitamin C. After perusing the whole article I learned otherwise. Still a certain uneasiness prevailed. A quick call to my local pharmacy confirmed otherwise. I rang up two more pharmacies and one was willing to deliver it if I needed it immediately. Thank you for the scare though...

Rondell Jenkins

September 16, 2009 3:15 PM

Ain't they got no orange juice?


September 16, 2009 6:21 PM

Indian children and pregnant women are suffering because of the shortage of vitamin C. Yet the government extended the bans on China made vitamin C for another 5 years.

Wow, just wow. Indians never cease to impress me


September 16, 2009 9:22 PM

Bruce, if what you say is true it only prove that indian like to do things base on inflated emo/ego and always do things with the wrong reason and ended up with the wrong reason too.

as for the rest of the world...who cares.....


September 16, 2009 10:01 PM

well, that is the result of protectionism!


September 17, 2009 9:20 PM

the fact that few people can purchase vitamin C without capping the price show how sad the state of Indian health care system.

Tim Gunther

September 17, 2009 11:28 PM

It is amusing that Indians can do very little to improve their lives. They can't even produce enough vitamin C. I wonder what is their level of intelligence.


September 18, 2009 1:13 AM

Incredible India!

India behind schedule preparing for Commonwealth game.


September 20, 2009 6:50 PM

Considering that Chinese baby fprmula ends up killing the babies, India is quite right to do this.
Better to have a shortage of Vit C than to buy Vit C that kills you.


April 8, 2010 5:44 AM

Try alternatives. I bet Indian would not need these medicines. They have a lot of herbs and fruits there..

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