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In a move that will boost Indian exports across the Great Wall, the Chinese government has granted duty concessions to Indian goods categorised under 217 tariff lines. The concessions are part of the Bangkok agreement, under which India has also granted reciprocal tariff concessions to China.

The benefit to India goes beyond 217 items (in eight-digit classification) as the concessions already extended by China bilaterally with Bangladesh, the Republic of Korea and Sri Lanka will also be available to Indian goods. In effect, the total number of items eligible for tariff concessions for export to China will be more than 700. The concessions will be available if the rules of the origin conditions are fulfilled. The preferential tariff rates for trade between India and China under the Bangkok agreement are effective from January '04.

India has extended the concessions on 106 items corresponding to 188 tariff lines at six-digit classification, which it has already granted to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Republic of Korea. To be eligible for preferential duty access to China under the Bangkok agreement, the goods shall be accompanied by a 'certificate of origin' to this effect issued by an authorised agency.

Imports from China on the items would be available subject to the fulfilment of the Indian government's rules of origin. China will be maintaining an average margin of preference, which it offered on the basis of the '03 MFN (most favoured nation) rates for 217 tariff lines at 13.5% of the prevalent MFN tariffs every year.

The Bangkok agreement is an initiative under the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) for trade expansion through the exchange of tariff concessions among developing country members of the ESCAP region.

The agreement was signed on July 31, '75 and remained operational among four countries, namely, Bangladesh, India, the Republic of Korea and Sri Lanka until April '00. The developing country members and associate members of ESCAP are eligible to accede to the agreement.

China's accession to the Bangkok agreement was approved by a consensus of the member countries in April '00.

China completed the formalities related to its accession to the Bangkok agreement in April '01.

China concluded its bilateral negotiations for the exchange of tariff concessions with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Republic of Korea in '02. India concluded its bilateral negotiations for the exchange of tariff concessions with China in '03.

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