Describes bilateral and multilateral trade agreements that this country is party to, including with the United States. Includes websites and other resources where U.S. companies can get more information on how to take advantage of these agreements.
Last Published: 10/10/2018

India has entered into bilateral and regional trading agreements over the years. These agreements, besides offering preferential tariff rates on the trade of goods among member countries, also provide for wider economic cooperation in the fields of trade in services, investment, and intellectual property.

The preferential arrangement/plans under which India is receiving tariff preferences are the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the Global System of Trade Preferences (GSTP). Presently, there are 46-member countries of the GSTP and India has exchanged tariff concessions with 12 countries on a limited number of products.

Other such preferential arrangements include the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Preferential Trading Agreement (SAPTA), the Bangkok Agreement and India–Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISLFTA). These arrangements/ agreements prescribe Rules of Origin that must be fulfilled for exports to be eligible for tariff preference.

India and several Asian countries have signed a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), which is an integrated package of agreements embracing trade in goods, services, investments and economic co-operations in education, science and technology, air services, and intellectual property. The agreements provide wide-ranging exemptions and reductions on basic customs duty on products imported from Singapore into India. The Indian Ministry of Commerce projected that 60 percent of India's future trade would be accounted for by free trade agreements (FTAs), with such countries as Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Pakistan, and even China. In a major policy shift, the government has decided to convert all Preferential/Free Trade Agreements (PFA/FTA) into Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreements (CECA). This goes beyond the Indian government’s bid in recent months to embrace bilateralism aggressively.

The decision seems to be aimed at mollifying the World Trade Organization (WTO), which cautioned India against negotiating exclusively PFAs/FTAs. PFAs/FTAs usually involve structured reduction in tariffs between two countries. CECAs would cover preferential relaxation of FDI rules vis-à-vis the partner country, tax holidays on investment and income, easing of visa restrictions etc. Trade in services too would come under the purview of CECA. Information on India’s bilateral trade agreements is available at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry website: http://www.indiantradeportal.in/index.jsp

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India Trade Development and Promotion Trade Agreements