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Overview of APTA Certificate Registration

Asia Pacific Trade Agreement or APTA was signed in 1975 between India, the Republic of Korea, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It is considered the oldest Trade Agreement in the region of Asia-Pacific and one of the longest operational trade agreements in Asia and the Pacific. APTA is also the first preferential Trade Agreement between developing countries. It was earlier known as the Bangkok Agreement; in 2005, it was renamed APTA. Now, it has seven participating members: India, Bangladesh, China, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Republic of Korea and Sri Lanka. The people's Republic of China acceded to APTA in 2001, while Mongolia 2020 was the latest member to join APTA.

The basic objective of this Agreement is to speed up economic development in all these seven member countries. It is focused on liberalising trade and investment, which is going to promote inter-regional trade and strengthen the economies of all the participating member countries. It aims at reducing tariff and regulatory barriers for commodities/products, investment and technology. 

UNESCAP, i.e., the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, serves as the Secretariat for the APTA and assists in identifying the prospective members who can participate in this Agreement without any adverse effect on their economy. 

In India, all APTA commodities are given tariff preference by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs. APTA is part of India also under Free Trade Agreement (FTA). However, it is not a full-fledged Free Trade Agreement. In India, the objectives of APTA are to promote economic development through a process of trade expansion among the ESCAP's developing member countries and to enhance international economic co-operation through the adoption of mutually beneficial trade liberalisation measures consistent with their present and future development and needs related to trade. This Agreement is governed in India by the following principles:

  • It is based on overall reciprocity and mutuality of advantages in a way as to benefit all participating countries equitably. 
  • Principles of transparency, national treatment and most favoured nation treatment apply to the trade relations among the participating countries.
  • Special needs of the less developed participating country are recognised, and concrete preferential measures in their favour are agreed upon. 

Benefits of APTA Certificate Registration 

Following are the benefits of obtaining APTA Certificate Registration:

  • Reduces tariff and trade barriers in preferred countries 
  • Promotes fair competition in all the free trade countries
  • Ensures equitable benefits to all contracting countries
  • It's an effective mechanism for joint administration and resolution of disputes
  • Framework for the regional co-operation and to enhance mutual benefits for the trade
  • Encourages cross-border transactions between the territories of contracting countries. 

Eligibility for APTA Certificate Registration 

Products that are covered under preferential trade within the framework of the Agreement imported into the territory of a participating country from another participating country that is consigned directly under the Rules known as Rules of Determination of Origin of Goods under the Asia- Pacific Trade Agreement Rules, 2006 and shall be eligible for the preferential concessions if they conform to origin requirement under any of the following conditions:

  • Products that are wholly obtained in India, and such products are as follows:
  1. Raw or mineral products that are extracted from the soil, water or seabed of India
  2. Agricultural products harvested in India
  3. Animals born and raised in India
  4. Products obtained from animals raised and born in India 
  5. Products obtained by the hunting or fishing conducted in India 
  6. Products of sea fishing and similar marine products are taken from the high seas by Indian vessels.
  7. Products are processed and made on board Indian factory ships exclusively from products of sea fishing and other marine products taken from high seas by Indian vessels.
  8. Used articles that are collected in India and which are fit only for the recovery of raw materials
  9. Waste and scrap result from manufacturing operations conducted in India.
  10. Goods produced in India exclusively from the products that are referred to above. 
  • Products that are obtained in India and the materials originating in participant countries, materials imported from non-participant countries and materials of undetermined origin are also used, provided the value of such materials imported from non-participant countries and materials of undetermined origin does not exceed 50% of f.o.b. value of products. Products which comply with origin requirements provided in the previous statement and which are used by a participant as input for finished products eligible for preferential treatment by another participant are considered as a product originating in a territory of the participant where working and processing of such finished products have taken place provided the aggregate content originating in the territory of the participant is not less than 60% of its f.o.b. value. 

The followings are considered to be directly consigned from India to any importing country:

  • Products that are transported without passing through the territory of the non-participant country
  • Products whose transport has transit through one or more non-participant countries with or without trans-shipment or temporary storage in such country, however:
  1. Transit entry is justified for geographical reasons or related exclusively to requirements of transport.
  2. Products do not enter into trade or consumption there. 
  3. Products do not undergo any operation there except unloading and reloading or any other operation required to keep them in good condition. 

Documents required for APTA Certificate Registration 

The list of documents one needs to have while applying for APTA Certificate Registration is as follows:

  • Origination-based Digital Signature Certificate 
  • Import Export Code (IEC) 
  • Contact details, i.e., mobile no. and email address 
  • Commercial invoice
  • Purchase bill with details of quantity, the origin of raw materials, consumables used in a product meant for export
  • Manufacturer exporter declaration on company's letterhead 
  • Product Description 
  • Purchase order from the importer company. 

Procedure to Obtain APTA Certificate Registration

Steps to be followed while obtaining the APTA Certificate Registration are as follows:

  • Application:

The applicant files an application to the appropriate authority with Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) and updated Import – Export Code (IEC). 

  • Documents:

The applicant must submit all relevant information and required documents with the application form.

  • Payment:

After submission of the application form, the applicant makes payment of the requisite fees.  

  • Issuance of License:

When all the above-mentioned steps are completed, the appropriate authority issues APTA Registration Certificate in the name of the applicant. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Country of Origin is a criterion for determining a product for the purpose of international trade. Its significance is derived from those duties and restrictions, in several cases, depending upon the source of imports.

Certificate of Origin proves that the products exported are of Indian origin and that products exported are wholly obtained, manufactured or produced in India.

Export Inspection Council (EIC), Export Development Authorities, Development Commissioners of EPZs and SEZs, and FIEO are authorised agencies to issue APTA Certificate Registration in India.

On 29th September 2020, Mongolia acceded to the Agreement as its seventh member country.

The participating countries, to supervise, co-ordinate and review the implementation of APTA, establish a Council of minister level with one minister from the relevant economic ministry of each participating country.

A Standing Committee is responsible for reviewing the application of APTA, carrying out consultation, taking decisions and making recommendations as required, and undertaking measures required to ensure adequate implementation of objectives and provisions of APTA.

Executive Secretary (ES) of the ESCAP behind the accession of any country as a member of APTA.

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