Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 16, 2022, 6:33

The Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] is a preferential trade arrangement that works to promote trade expansion by exchange of mutually agreed tariff concessions by the member countries of the Asia Pacific Region.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP) initiated this agreement, formerly known as the Bangkok Agreement. The five countries, including Bangladesh, India, Lao DPR, Sri Lanka, and the Republic of Korea, are original members that signed this agreement in 1957. In 2001, China also participated in the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA].

Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] - Country Members

Initially, five countries were the original members of the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA], but later two more countries joined this agreement making it a seven participating states agreement. The current membership of the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] includes:

  • India
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic
  • Bangladesh
  • Sri Lanka
  • Republic of Korea
  • The People's Republic of China
  • Mongolia

The latest member is Mongolia, which joined the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] in 2020.

Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] History

Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] is the oldest trade agreement and longest operational trade agreement between the nations of the Asia Pacific Region. India, Bangladesh, the Republic of Korea, Lao PDR, and Sri Lanka first signed the Bangkok Agreement; later, China joined in 2001.

The members renamed the Bangkok Agreement to Asia Pacific Trade Agreement in 2005, and the first Ministerial Council of Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] assembled in Beijing, China, in the same year.

UNESCAP held the second meeting in Goa, India, in 2007, and the third meeting in Seoul, South Korea, after two years of the second meeting.

The UNESCAP held the fourth Ministerial meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2017, and the following year, the participating members established working groups on services, investment, and trade facilitation.

In 2020, Mongolia also became a participating state in Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA].

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Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] Objectives

The main objective of the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement is to boost the economic development of its participating countries.

It also functions to liberalize trade and investment that help nations strengthen their economies through inter-regional trade.

Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] also has a significant goal of reducing the tariff commission and providing coverage of merchandise, goods, commodities, investments, and technology.

Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] Organisational Structure

The organisational structure of the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] includes:

  • Ministerial Council: The Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] holds the meeting once every two years.
  • Standing Committee: It administers the trade agreement.
  • Secretariat: TIID of UNESCO serves as its Secretariat.
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Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] Importance

The Asia Pacific Trade Agreement is the only trade agreement that links India and China directly, making it an important trade agreement.

The Indian Trade Service officers formulated and implemented policies regarding such preferential trade agreements.

All India and Central Services such as IRS, IAS, and IFS help Indian Trade Service officers supervise trade and export administration activities.

The Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] is a preferential trade agreement in which the TIID of UNESCAP acts as its Secretariat. This trade agreement is not a full-fledged free trade agreement since it covers only specific tariff lines.

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FAQs on Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA]

Q1) What is Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA]?

The Asia Pacific Trade Agreement or Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] is a preferential trade arrangement that works to promote trade expansion by exchange of mutually agreed tariff concessions by the member countries of the Asia Pacific Region.

Q2) Which countries signed the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] and when?

Five countries, including Bangladesh, India, Lao DPR, Sri Lanka, and the Republic of Korea, are original members that signed the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] in 1957. In 2001, China also participated in the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA].

Q3) Why Is Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] Important?

The Asia Pacific Trade Agreement or Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] is the only trade agreement that links India and China directly, making it an important trade agreement.

Q4) What is the organisational structure of the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA]?

The organisational structure of the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] includes a Ministerial Council, Standing Committee, and The Secretariat.

Q5) What is the main objective of the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA]?

The main objective of the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement [APTA] is to boost the economic development of its participating countries.