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China, India to extend tariff cuts
By Li Yanping (Bloomberg)
Updated: 2005-11-03 11:27

China, India, South Korea and three other Asian countries agreed to extend and deepen tariff cuts starting on July 1 as part of an expanded free trade agreement.

Trade ministers from the nations, including Bangladesh, Laos and Sri Lanka, agreed to reduce tariffs by an average of 30 percent, from 22 percent previously, and extend the agreement to 4,800 products, from 1,800, according to documents shown to reporters at a press conference in Beijing Thursday.

``I believe this cooperation will further promote the rapid economic development of these countries, which represent the majority of the population of the Asian region,'' China's commerce minister Bo Xilai said at the briefing.

The ministers, who met in Beijing, agreed to implement an accord reached in April 2004 that expands the so-called ``Bangkok agreement'' first concluded in 1975. The accord will be renamed the Asia Pacific Free Trade Area.

China, which joined the Bangkok agreement in May 2001, will cut tariffs by an average of 27 percent on about 1,700 products, from more than 900 previously.

The countries will consider implementing non-tariff treatment on services, investment and intellectual products trade, said Kim Hak-su, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

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