Duterte invites India to invest in PH medicine, cars

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 14 ) — President Rodrigo Duterte focused on trade relations during his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and invited India to invest in the country, particularly in the pharmaceutical and automotive industries.

At the bilateral talks held Monday at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City, Duterte said he wanted to talk about trade with Modi, identifying the production of medicine as a particular point of interest.

"We want to discuss trade relations further and especially, the most important one is that… and I'm happy that you're here because of we can't find the medicines, and you have it and it is — India — people who can really afford to buy it," said Duterte.

Duterte pointed out that other countries who make medicine, the United States in particular, produce them at a steep price.

Duterte told Modi, "We would [be] very happy to see you building an investment that would include the medicines."

The President told the Prime Minister he was interested in having India invest in the pharmaceutical industry as the Philippines is a poor country that cannot always afford branded, expensive medicine.

"I'm more interested, really, in the medicines because we are a poor country, but you know how it is with America. They don't believe in generics because they do not make money, so it's very expensive really actually," he said.

Another area of investment, the President said, would be in the automotive industry.

Duterte said, the Philippine National Police was using vehicles made by Mahindra, an Indian automaker.

Dutere told the Indian leader that the police were using Mahindra cars in guarding the PICC where they were having the meeting.

During the meeting, officials from the Philippines and India signed Memoradums of Understanding on defense, agriculture, foreign service, and cooperation in the field of micro, small, and medium enterprises. 

Modi noted the warmth, hospitality of Filipinos, particularly when the  Indian delegation was welcomed to the country.

He noted how "everything has been organized in a very nice way."