The Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), formerly known as Bangkok Agreement was signed on 2nd November 2005 and it came into force with effect from 1st September 2006.

The APTA member countries (Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, South Korea and Sri Lanka) cover a total population of about 2.5 billion, which is a vast potential market to increase the level of intra-regional trade flows among the participating states. The third round of negotiations, which has offered a maximum of 50% Margin of Preference on existing tariffs among the member countries, includes substantial tariff concessions and a wider coverage of products.

The 3rd Round of Tariff concessions under APTA entered into force on from 1st September 2006. At the end of the Third Round, the participating Sates had exchanged concessions on 4,270 products plus 587 products offered exclusively to LDCs, a marked increase from the 1,721 products plus 112 products for LDCs before the Third Round.

Sri Lanka’s consolidated national list of concessions (general) covers 427 tariff lines and the list of special concessions offered to the least developed countries covers 72 tariff lines.

Sri Lanka’s major export items to the member countries in APTA in 2006 were natural rubber, desiccated coconut, coconut fiber, copra, coconut oil, tea, cloves and crude glycerin. In addition, to the above, Sri Lanka was able to secure tariff concessions from member countries of APTA for products of export interest to Sri Lanka, which includes, spices, (pepper, nutmeg, mace) cashew nuts, essential oils, natural graphite, activate carbon, rubber products (tyres, gloves, mats, rings) floor tiles, ceramic, tableware/kitchenware, glassware, semi precious stones, gem and jewellery, stuffed toys, brooms and brushes, cut flowers, footwear, biscuits, chocolates, apparel, fresh fruits and juices, wooden furniture, mattress, electric lamps, ornamental fish, fresh/frozen fish and fishery products.