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India’s Duty-Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme for Least Developed Countries (LDCs)

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India is the center epitome of the rising world economy. India recognizes the importance of promoting trade and economic development in Least Developed Countries (LDCs). India becomes the first country to extend its helping hand and support to Least developed countries (LDCs). India announced the Duty-Free Tariff Preference(DFTP) Scheme for LDCs 2008. This decision to provide DFTP access for LDCs was the outcome of the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting, held in December 2005. The scheme was announced to strengthen trade relations and provide preferential market access to LDCs.


The Government of India initiated this scheme for the Least Developed Countries(LDCs) to support Least Developed Countries(LDCs) by providing preferential market access. India was the first developing country to introduce a preferential tariff program for Least Developed Countries(LDCs). Under this scheme, many Least Developed Countries(LDCs) products are granted duty-free entry into the Indian market, promoting bilateral trade and economic cooperation between India and these countries.

Under the DFTP scheme, 98.2 % of product categories are duty-free and preferential treatment, originating from Least Developed Countries—the rest, 1.8 % of the product categories, are imported into India with regular duties. India made US$ 9.93 billion worth of imports from LDCs in 2016.

Beneficiary countries under this DFTP Scheme are: 

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  • Tariff Exemption: Under this Scheme, Least Developed Countries have a significant advantage in selling their products in India and have been exempted from import duties. Through this scheme, eliminating tariffs makes the Least Developed Country’s (LDCs) goods more affordable and compete with the Indian market products. 
  • Favorable Trade: This scheme has allowed Least Developed Countries(LDCs) products to expand their business in the Indian market. It provides them access to increased exports and attracts many customers in India. 
  • Increase market access: This scheme allows all the Least Developed Countries(LDCs) to boost their exports, attract foreign investors, and provide more employment opportunities.
  • Product diversification: This scheme considers various products, which include textiles, agricultural products, chemical products, and many more. India aims to foster sustainable economic development in Developed Countries(LDCs) by encouraging export diversification. 
  • Technical Assistance: Through this scheme, there is a transfer of technology that promotes trade and development. As a part of the DFTP scheme, India offers technical assistance and training to Least Developed Countries(LDCs) to enhance their standard of exports and the quality of their products.


  • Trade Promotion: This scheme, providing duty-free access, has increased the trade volume between India and Least Developed Countries(LDCs). They can export their products to the Indian market at a competitive price, thus leading to trade inflow and revenue generation. 
  • Least Developed Countries(LDCs) growth: This scheme has played an essential role for all the Least Developed Countries(LDCs) countries. Export opportunities lead to an increase in their production and the creation of more employment opportunities, thus leading to an increase in income generation. Thus increasing those countries below poverty to rise and fight their economic crisis. 
  • Comparative advantage: This scheme encourages Least Developed Countries(LDCs) to diversify their export, thus providing them with a sector-wise comparative advantage that fosters long-term economic stability. 


 India’s Duty-Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) is a significant initiative to promote trade and economic growth to Least Developed Countries(LDCs). Granting duty-free access to the Indian market with a wide range of products helped them bring growth into their economy. The foremost objective of this scheme is to foster economic growth and development in Least Developed Countries(LDCs) by providing better export opportunities, which would have been possible only by reducing or eliminating tariffs. Thus, this scheme creates a platform for Least Developed Countries(LDCs) to expand their exports, strengthen the bilateral trade relationship between countries, and contribute to the global economy. 

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