India has agreed to provide tariff concessions on 3,142 products to Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) members, including Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, from July 1, the commerce ministry said today. However, these duty concessions will be more for the least developed countries (LDCs) and less for developing nations.
APTA is an initiative under the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) for trade expansion through the exchange of tariff concessions among developing country members of the Asia Pacific Region. It is in place since 1975.
It is a preferential trade agreement (PTA), under which the basket of items, as well as extent of tariff concessions, are enlarged during the trade negotiating rounds which are launched from time to time.
The Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), previously named the Bangkok Agreement, was signed in 1975 as an initiative of ESCAP.
The six member countries are Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, Korea and Sri Lanka.
Being the oldest preferential trade agreement among developing countries in Asia-Pacific, APTA aims to promote economic development through the adoption of mutually beneficial trade liberalization measures that will contribute to intra-regional trade expansion and provides for economic integration through coverage of merchandise goods, services, investment, and trade facilitation.
Open to all developing member countries, APTA is a truly region-wide trade agreement spanning East and South Asia, with the potential to expand to other sub-regions, including Central Asia and the Pacific.
APTA is the first plurilateral agreement among the developing countries in the region to adopt common operational procedures for certification and verification of the origin of goods and it has the longest effective implementation period amongst the trade agreements in the entire Asia-Pacific.
Notably, APTA is the only operational trade agreement linking China and India, two of the fastest growing markets in the world, and other major markets such as the Republic of Korea.