New Delhi– India maintained its supremacy over China in pharmaceutical exports last year, the union commerce ministry said on Tuesday.

“India moved ahead of China in all important markets such as the US, Africa and the European Union,” a ministry statement said.

“India’s pharmaceutical exports continued its lead over China in 2015.”

“While India’s pharma exports grew from $11.66 billion to $12.54 billion in 2015, recording a growth of 7.55 per cent, China increased its exports of pharma products from $6.59 billion to $6.94 billion, showing a growth of 5.3 per cent,” it added.

Indian pharma exports to the US soared 23.4 per cent to $4.74 billion last year.

Instead, China’s pharma exports to the US increased by 15 per cent to $1.34 billion in the same period.

“India also maintained its lead with growth in EU and Africa recording exports of $1.5 billion and $3.04 billion, respectively, while China’s exports to EU and Africa showed a declining trend in both the markets,” the ministry said.

India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally with the Indian generics accounting for 20 per cent of global exports in terms of volume. Its rapidly growing pharmaceutical market is expected to grow to $55 billion by 2020 and emerge as the sixth largest globally by size

Meanwhile, India’s merchandise exports declined for the 18th consecutive month in May at $22.17 billion — down 0.79 per cent in dollar terms — against $22.35 billion in the like month of last year, as per official data last month. (IANS)