APTA recognizes the specific needs of the least developed countries and calls for concrete preferential measures in their favour (Article 3). Participating States may grant special concessions to members of LDCs (Article 7) and undertake to pay particular attention to requests for technical assistance from participating least developed countries. In practice, most members have made specific concessions to least developed countries in successive rounds of trade liberalization (see schedules of concessions for the fourth round here). The Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), previously known as the Bangkok Agreement, and renamed on 2 November 2005, was signed in 1975. It is the oldest preferential trade agreement between countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Seven participating States – Bangladesh, China, the Democratic People`s Republic of Laos, India, Mongolia, the Republic of Korea and Sri Lanka – are the parties to APTA. APTA members are currently participating in the fourth round of tariff concessions, which is expected to be completed in October 2009.  The fourth round, launched in October 2007, was to be closed by the Third Council of Ministers in October 2009. This round aims to extend preference coverage to at least 50% of each member`s number of customs lines and at least 20-25% of the value of bilateral trade. In addition, a customs concession of at least 50% (on average) should be granted. The fourth round of negotiations will focus on areas that go beyond traditional tariff concessions to deepen trade cooperation and integration. APTA members are currently negotiating three framework agreements on trade facilitation, trade in services and investment.
In addition, APTA members exchange information on non-tariff measures. The main objective of APTA is to accelerate economic development in the seven participating countries. . . .