Antibiotics “dumped”: Negotiating Pharmaceutical Identities, Properties, and Interests in China–India Trade Disputes


China and India have become major producers of antibiotics, and the world has become highly dependent on them. Since 2000, the competition among Chinese and Indian manufacturers on key antibiotic ingredients has become increasingly intense in a series of trade disputes involving anti‐dumping investigations. Analyzing these trade disputes, we find that they provide a space of communication and contestation where seemingly objective facts about pharmaceutical ingredients are transformed into debatable subjects, which are used and sometimes manipulated by stakeholders of conflicting interests. The disputes reveal entangled configurations and multilayered stakes in the China–India pharmaceutical nexus that often defy polarized national interests. Stakeholders must juggle multiple factors, including public health interests, nationalist sentiments, and corporate profit, in negotiating the national identities and the physical and chemical properties of “standard” pharmaceutical ingredients. The disputes also highlight the coexistence of collaboration and competition among Chinese and Indian stakeholders in global pharmaceutical supply chains. [antibiotics, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), pharmaceutical nexus, dumping, trade disputes, China–India]