- India has agreed to provide tariff concessions to Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) members.
About Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA):
- 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 the oldest (since 1975) preferential trade agreement (PTA) between countries in the Asia-Pacific region, 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:
- Sri Lanka
- The fourth round of trade negotiations were formally concluded and signed by the ministers of the member countries.
- The decision of this meet has now been implemented by all members and 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.
- However, these duty concessions will be more for least developed countries (LDCs) and less for developing nations.
- 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.
- A Free trade agreement (FTA) can be an agreement between two countries (bilateral ) or many countries (multilateral) to reduce tariff on large number of items.
- Under a FTA, countries cut or eliminate duties on most number of goods traded between them besides liberalising norms to promote services trade and investments.
- It is broader in term of goods & barrier (tariff and non-tariff) than preferential trade agreement (PTA). Under a PTA, duties are eliminated on a certain number of identified items.
- In PTA, there is positive list of products on which duty is to be reduced, in an FTA there is a negative list on which duty is not reduced or eliminated.
- Hierarchy of Agreement follows as: PTA → FTA→ CECA/ CEPA/ BTIA→ Custom Union→ Common Market→ Economic Union.