Taking yet another step to provide economic package to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), India on Friday extended duty-free market access to Afghanistan.

Under the scheme notified by the Finance Ministry, import of most products from the neighbouring country will be allowed at zero duty. India's Duty-Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) scheme, launched by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2008, provides preferential duty access on products comprising 92.5 per cent of global LDC exports.

The DFTP scheme grants duty-free access on 85 per cent of India's total tariff lines.

The scheme is to be implemented over five years through five equal tariff reductions of 20 per cent each on the current applied rates.

Some of the products of interest for LDCs which are covered include cotton, cocoa, aluminium ore, copper ore, cashewnut, cane sugar, readymade garments, fish fillets and non-industrial diamonds.

The countries which have been notified under the DFTP scheme include Cambodia, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Madagascar. At the recently concluded informal Ministerial on WTO held in Paris last month, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma had urged the WTO member States to conclude negotiations and agree on a package for the LDCs before December this year.

Keywords: WTODuty free market

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