The RCEP, whose negotiations lasted eight years, should first include India. However, India withdrew from negotiations last year due to doubts about the impact of the agreement on its agricultural sector. Despite India`s withdrawal, the joint declaration of the signatories stated that it was good to conclude the RCEP agreement. Many Member States have already concluded free trade agreements, but there are restrictions. The Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), formerly known as the Bangkok Agreement and renamed on November 2, 2005, was signed in 1975. It is the oldest preferential trade agreement between countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Seven participating states – Bangladesh, China, India, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Republic of Korea and Sri Lanka – are parties to APTA. The APTA pact occupies the market for 2921.2 million people  and the size of this large market represents $14615.86 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) in the 2015-16 fiscal year.  APTA`s main objective is to accelerate economic development among the seven participating states that opt for trade and investment liberalization measures that, through the coverage of goods and services, synchronized investment and the free transfer of technology, will contribute to the coverage of intra-regional trade and economic strengthening. Its aim is to promote economic development and cooperation through trade liberalization measures. The AptA is open to all members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, which serves as the secretariat of APTA. APTA members are currently participating in the fourth round of tariff concessions, which is expected to end in October 2009.
 In particular, the RCEP does not offer significant new opportunities for products in terms of tariff reduction and elimination, as most RCEP parties have already concluded existing free trade agreements through a combination of bilateral and multilateral agreements, including the ASEAN-1 and CPTPP free trade agreements. Only China and Japan, Korea and Japan, as well as Japan and New Zealand, have not implemented free trade agreements. Nevertheless, many of the RCEP`s tariff results are improvements from the status quo under existing free trade agreements. The AptA recognises the specific needs of LDCs and calls for concrete preference measures in its favour (Article 3). Participating states can grant special concessions to least developed countries (Article 7) and commit to paying particular attention to NDC requests for technical assistance. In practice, most members have made special concessions to LDCs in successive rounds of trade liberalization (see here lists of concessions for the fourth round). The fourth round, launched in October 2007, was to be closed by the Third Council of Ministers in October 2009.