Diplomatist Magazine Diplomatist April 2018 - Page 9

COVER STORY The Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade (ISLFTA) agreement envisages phasing out of tariffs on all products except for a limited number of items in the negative list and tariff rate quota items over a period of time. India’s Free Trade Agreements, Economic Cooperation Agreement, etc. Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement: An FTA between India and Sri Lanka was signed on 28 December 1999 in New Delhi. The Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade (ISLFTA) agreement envisages phasing out of tariffs on all products except for a limited number of items in the negative list and tariff rate quota items over a period of time. The implementation of the agreement started in March 2000. The agreement provides for establishment of a joint committee at the ministerial level, which shall meet at least once a year to review the progress made in the implementation of the agreement and to ensure that the benefi ts of trade expansion emanating from this agreement accrue to both countries equitably. India and Sri Lanka have initiated negotiations to enter into a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (ECPA) and to deepen and widen the coverage by including trade in services, investment cooperation, etc. Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between India and Singapore: The India- Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) was signed on 29 June 2005 and came into force on 1 August 2005. It called for phased reduction/elimination of duties on products other than those in the negative list by India by 1 April 2009 and an early harvest scheme (EHS) whereas Singapore has eliminated duties on all products originating from India from 1 August 2005. Besides trade in goods, the CECA also covers investment, services, mutual recognition agreements, and customs co-operations. Bilateral Preferential Trading Agreement with Afghanistan: The Preferential Trade Agreement between India and Afghanistan, signed on 6 March 2003, provides for establishing a preferential trading arrangement between the two countries to promote the harmonious development of economic relations and the free movement of goods through reduction of tariffs. The objective is to provide for grant or concessions on a range of products of export interest to Afghanistan, as a part of India’s endeavour to strengthen trade and economic relations with the country. The agreement is WTO-compatible. Products covered under the agreement shall be eligible for preferential treatment, provided they satisfy the rules of origin laid down under the agreement. India is granting Afghanistan 50–100 percent tariff concession on 38 items of dry fruits, fresh fruits, seeds, medicinal herbs, and precious stones and in turn India is receiving duty-free access on eight tariff lines of its export interest, which include black tea, pharmaceutical products, Ayurvedic and Homeopathic medicines, refi ned sugar, cement, etc. The agreement would remain in force until either party gives notice to the other for its termination. Framework Agreement for Establishing Free Trade between India and Thailand: In November 2001, a Joint Working Group (JWG) was set up to undertake a feasibility study on a Free Trade Agreement between India and Thailand. Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Diplomatist • Vol 6 • Issue 4 • April 2018, Noida • 7