The main objective of APTA is to accelerate economic development in the seven participating states. It aims to liberalize trade and investment that would promote inter-regional trade and strengthen the economies of participating countries. In addition, tariff and regulatory barriers on raw materials, technology and investment will be removed. One of the advantages of the agreement is the removal of at least 92% of tariffs on goods traded between participating countries. The fourth round of negotiations will focus on areas that go beyond traditional tariff concessions in order to deepen trade policy cooperation and integration. APTA members are currently negotiating three framework agreements on trade facilitation, trade in services and investment. In addition, APTA members exchange information on non-tariff measures. India will also have to check whether the new U.S. government is somehow reviving the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and bringing all its partners to the region. APTA is considered part of India`s free trade agreements, although it is not a full-fledged free trade agreement. This is a preferential trade agreement covering certain tariff lines. However, almost all APTA products benefit from a tariff preference from the Central Board of Indirect Taxes – Customs Zoll.
The list of products subject to expanded tariff concessions by Indian customs is increasingly updated during the negotiations. Some raw materials may be added by negotiation or removed under existing anti-dumping and countervailing rules. APTA preferences may overlap with separate DFQF systems from China, India and the Republic of Korea, as well as preferences under the SAFTA, ASEAN-China, ASEAN-India and ASEAN-Republic of Korea regional trade agreements. The AptA recognises the specific needs of LDCs and calls for concrete preference measures in its favour (Article 3). Participating states can grant special concessions to least developed countries (Article 7) and commit to paying particular attention to NDC requests for technical assistance. In practice, most members have made special concessions to LDCs in successive rounds of trade liberalization (see here lists of concessions for the fourth round). The fourth round, launched in October 2007, was to be closed by the Third Council of Ministers in October 2009. The objective of this round is to extend preference coverage to at least 50% of the number of customs positions of each member and to at least 20 to 25% of the value of bilateral trade. In addition, a customs concession of at least 50% (on average) will be introduced. The agreement signed seven signatories, with a total GDP of $14615.86 billion and a population of more than 2921.2 million people.
It is open to all Member States and customs territories of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNSCAP). The following table lists the current participants in aptA and the year in which they joined the agreement: the negotiations concern the facilitation of trade in services, the removal of non-tariff barriers to trade and investment. The organizational structure of the Asia-Pacific trade agreement is as follows: with China`s support, the RCEP has been envisioned as a way to strengthen trade relations between nations throughout the Asia-Pacific region and to promote trade and economic growth in the region.