New Delhi: India is likely to press for further opening of pharmaceutical sector by Japan to help domestic industry take advantage of the comprehensive free trade agreement and increase its share in the Japanese market.

The issue is expected to figure in the meeting of Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano tomorrow, a commerce ministry official told.

Both the sides would review the agreement, the official said.

"At present India's share is less than 1 per cent of total Japanese pharmaceutical market. India will urge the Japanese side to remove all non-tariff barriers so that real benefits envisaged under the comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) are materialised," the official said.

The CEPA between India and Japan came into effect from August 1 2011. Both the sides expect that it would boost bilateral trade to USD 25 billion by 2014.

Indian pharmaceutical industry was set to gain in a big way from the pact as Japan, the world's second largest market, had agreed to cut duties on imports of Indian generic drugs.

As per the pact, the Japanese government would accord no less favourable treatment to the applications of Indian companies than it accords to the like applications of its own persons for drug registration.

This would greatly help Indian pharmaceutical companies.

An industry expert said that Indian companies are still facing non-tariff barriers in Japanese market.

With a view to reducing the overall cost of healthcare, Japan may be keen to expand the share of generic medicines, the official said, adding "the demand of generic medicines in the Japanese market and the capability of India to meet this demand will prove a win-win situation for both the countries".

Both the sides are also expected to emphasis on starting negotiations on nursing and health care professional service as soon as possible.

Besides, both the ministers would review the progress of Delhi- Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), India's USD 100 billion ambitious infrastructure projects.

Japan has expressed intention to invest USD 4.5 billion (about Rs 23,400 crore) in the project.
The two-way trade between the countries has increased to USD 18.31 billion in 2011-12 from USD 13.82 billion in 2010-11.

India's exports to Japan mainly includes petroleum, gems and jewellery, transport equipment and machinery, while imports include iron and steel, electronic goods, chemicals and metals.