New Delhi: Government today approved the exchange of duty concessions under the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), a move aimed at enhancing commerce among six member countries including India and China.
The current membership of APTA consists six countries or participating states - Bangladesh, China, India, Lao PDR, Republic of Korea, and Sri Lanka.
"The Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the exchange of tariff concessions, on margin of preference basis, under the fourth round of negotiations under the APTA and related amendments," an official statement said.
The APTA (formerly the Bangkok Agreement) is an initiative under the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific for trade expansion through exchange of tariff concessions among developing country members of the Asia Pacific region.
Since this is a preferential trade agreement, 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, it said.
Till date, three rounds of trade negotiations have taken place.
Up to the third round, India offered tariff preferences on 570 tariff lines (or products) at an average margin of preference (MoP) of 23.9 percent and an additional 48 tariff lines to least developed countries (LDC) at an average margin of preference of 39.7 percent.
"The Cabinet approved India's offer of 28.01 percent of dutiable national tariff lines with an average MoP of 33.45 percent," it said adding "this will deepen the concessions being offered under this agreement".
The Cabinet's approval was also given to amend the preamble of APTA to effect accession of Mongolia as the 7th participating state.
Other amendments to incorporate the sectoral rule of origin to the agreement were also approved.
It said the fourth session of the ministerial council of APTA, which is scheduled to be held shortly, will formally implement all the decisions, it added.