The 4th Ministerial Council of Asia-Pacific Countries Trade Agreement was held in Bangkok, Thailand on January 13. Members of the Agreement such as China, India, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Laos and Mongolia who is prepared to join the Agreement sent high-level delegations to attend the meeting. At this conference, representatives of six members of the Agreement jointly signed the final document of the 4th round of tariff concession negotiation The Second Amendment of Asia-Pacific Countries Trade Agreement, and agreed to work hard to officially put it into effect on July 1 this year. The conference issued the Ministers Declaration, announcing to launch the practical negotiations in fields such as trade facilitation, investment and service trade under the Agreement and to strive to launch the 5th round of tariff concession negotiation within this year. The conference also decided to establish the business association of the Agreement and promote to further improve the liberalization and facilitation level of trade investment in the region.
The Agreement grew from the Bangkok Agreement signed in 1975. The Bangkok Agreement was a favorable trade arrangement reached among developing countries when the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific was the host, and its aim was to promote south-south cooperation. Through years' efforts of all members, the cooperation under the agreement was constantly deepened, the liberalization and facilitation level of trade and investment was continuously improved and the trade and economic relationship was promoted to be increasingly close. In order to further promote the trade cooperation within the region, the 4th round of tariff concession negotiation of the agreement was launched in October 2007. After 9-year hard negotiation, the negotiation was finally over in August 2016.
China officially joined the Agreement in 2001. The Agreement was the first favorable trade agreement participated by China. It was also the only functional and regional trade agreement linking East Asia and South Asia. Since the implementation of the 3rd round of negotiation of tariff concession in 2006, the scale of preference products has been greatly expanded, playing a positive role in promoting the trade exchange between China and the members of the Agreement. In 2001-2005, the bilateral trade volume between China and the members of the Agreement rose from US$41 billion to US$369.6 billion, with an increase of 9 times. At the same time, the number of preference certificate of origin issued under the Agreement ranked the second in the signed regional trade agreements at present in China and the imported benefiting value ranked the third. Enterprises benefit a lot from this.