Cabinet nod for duty concessions exchange under Asia-Pacific trade

New Delhi, Sep 12 (IANS) The union cabinet on Monday approved the exchange of duty concessions under the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) towards increasing trade among the six member nations of the regional trade pact.

“The union cabinet has approved the exchange of tariff concessions on margin of preference (MoP) basis under the fourth round of negotiations of the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement and related amendments,” an official statement here said.

Current members of APTA are Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, South Korea and Sri Lanka.

The Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), formerly called the Bangkok Agreement, is an initiative under the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) 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. Till date, three rounds of trade negotiations have taken place,” a Commerce Ministry statement here said.

“Up to the third round of negotiations, India has offered tariff preferences on 570 tariff lines at an average margin of preference of 23.9 per cent, and an additional 48 tariff lines to LDC (Least Developed Country) members at an average MoP of 39.7 per cent at the 6-digit HS (harmonized system) level,” the statement said

The 6 digit harmonized system code is accepted by countries all over world.

“The third round, with respect to all participating States, cumulatively covered concessions on 4,270 products with MOP of 27.2 per cent,” it added.

The statement also said the cabinet approved India’s offer of 28.01 per cent of 3,142 dutiable national tariff lines with an average MoP of 33.45 per cent.

“This will deepen the concessions being offered under this Agreement,” it said.

The union cabinet also approved an amendment to the preamble of APTA to effect accession of Mongolia as the seventh APTA participating State, it added.

As per the Indian commerce ministry, the fourth session of APTA’s Ministerial Council, slated to be held shortly, will formally implement these decisions.

–IANS

bc/rn

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