Medical &Health

Cabinet Okays draft of APTA agreement

DHAKA, Dec 26, 2016 (BSS) - The Cabinet today approved the draft of the second amendment to the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), the oldest preferential trade arrangement among the countries of Asia-Pacific region.

"The amendment is to include Mongolia and rearrange of the tariff regime under the agreement," Cabinet Secretary M Shafiul Alam said in a briefing after the weekly Cabinet meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair at Bangladesh Secretariat.

The draft, he said, also finalized a new list of tariff regime under the agreement.

APTA was previously known as Bangkok Agreement, signed in 1975 while it was renamed in 2005.

The forum until now groups Bangladesh, India, China, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Lao while Mongolia is likely to be a new member as the next APTA ministerial meeting slated for January 13, 2017 in Bangkok is expected to finalize its inclusion.

Under the agreement Bangladesh generally gives 10 to 70 percent duty free access to 598 items from APTA countries in addition to 20 to 50 percent concession to four more items from LDCs within the grouping.

As per agreement China gives 5 to 100 percent duty free access of 2,191 items of APTA countries while India gives five to 100 percent duty free access to 3,334 items under the agreement.

The Cabinet Secretary said the meeting today also reviewed the current situation of the garments sector and welcomed the resumption of operation in all garment factories in Ashulia.

"The Cabinet has called for taking concerted efforts to resolve the problems of the workers and owners of the factories," he said.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)