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 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 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 six member countries are Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, Korea and Sri Lanka.
The results of fourth round of negotiations under the APTA have been implemented with effect from July 1, the ministry said in a statement.
“India has, on its part, exchanged tariff concessions on 3,142 tariff lines (or goods) with all member countries and special concessions on 48 tariff lines for LDCs, with Bangladesh and Laos,” it said.
The fourth round of trade negotiations were formally concluded and signed by the ministers of the member countries during their meeting on January 13 last year.
The decision of this meet has now been implemented by all members with effect from July 1, it added.
With the implementation of this decision, the coverage of preferences of total tariff lines for each member would come of 10,677 products, up from 4,270 items at the conclusion of the third round.
The average Margin of Preference (MoP) being provided under the agreement is 31.52 per cent. But LDC members are entitled to greater concessions on 1,249 items with an average MoP of 81 per cent.
Under a free trade agreement, countries cut or eliminate duties on most number of goods traded between them besides liberalising norms to promote services trade and investments. But under a PTA, duties are eliminated on a certain number of identified items.