Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA UPSC Notes) | IAS Target IAS Target

Asia Pacific Trade Agreement

The Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), formerly known as the Bangkok Agreement was signed in 1975. It is the oldest preferential trade agreement between countries in the Asia-Pacific region. APTA open to all developing member countries, APTA is a truly region-wide trade agreement spanning East and South Asia, with the potential to expand to other sub-regions, including Central Asia and the Pacific.
APTA is the first plurilateral agreement among the developing countries in the region to adopt common operational procedures for certification and verification of the origin of goods and it has the longest effective implementation period amongst the trade agreements in the entire Asia-Pacific. APTA is the only operational trade agreement linking India and China, two of the fastest-growing markets in the world, and other major markets like the Republic of Korea.

Facts About APTA

Gross Domestic Product       US$14615.86 billion (GDP)
Population 2921.2 million
Participating States Bangladesh, China, India, Mongolia, Lao PDR Republic of Korea, and Sri Lanka

APTA’s objective:

  • To hasten economic development among participating states
  • Opting trade and investment liberalization measures that will contribute to intra-regional trade and economic strengthening through the coverage of merchandise goods and services, synchronized investment regime
  • Free flow of technology transfer
  • APTA is open to all members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, which is a secretariat of APTA


  • Ministerial Council

    The Ministerial Council represents the highest decision-making authority. It provides overall policy direction for the future negotiating agenda of the Agreement, as well as supervision and coordination of the implementation of the Agreement. The Council meets at least once every two years.

  • Standing Committee

    APTA is directed by a Standing Committee. Each Participating State designates a national focal point and an alternate focal point responsible for handling this duty.

  • Secretariat

    The Trade and Investment Division of UNESCAP functions as APTA’s Secretariat.

Free trade agreement (FTA)

Under FTA countries eliminates duties on the  number of goods traded between them besides liberalizing norms to promote services trade and investments.

Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA)

Under PTA duties are eliminated on a certain number of identified items.