India has agreed to cut tariffs on 3,142 products for all member countries of the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA)—effective from this month onward.
This decision was announced in a statement released by the Indian Commerce Ministry, on Monday, and said that there will be more duty concessions for least developed countries (LDCs) and less for developing nations.
Agreements regarding the concessions were reached after the fourth round of APTA trade negotiations were formally concluded and signed by the respective ministers of all six member countries—during the meeting of the APTA Ministerial Council on January last year.
Special concessions on 48 tariff lines for Bangladesh, Laos, and other LDCs were also agreed upon during the negotiations.
The APTA initiative (formerly Bangkok Agreement) under the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) has been in place since 1975, with the main goal of expanding trade through an exchange of tariff concessions among developing country members of the Asia Pacific Region.
The six member countries of APTA are: Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, South Korea, and Sri Lanka.
The LDC members are entitled to greater concessions on 1,249 items in addition to the coverage of preferences of total 10,677 tariff lines (as opposed to the 4,270 items decided during the previous round) for all members.
According to the agreements, each member of APTA will get an average Margin of Preference (MoP) of 31.52%, while the average MoP for LDCs is 81% on the 1,249 items under the special and differential treatment provisions of APTA.