June 05, 2012

Reaffirmation today by APEC to play a key role in negotiations to expand the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) is welcome news, the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) said Tuesday.

Trade ministers from the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies met June 4 and 5 in Kazan, Russia, resulting in a call for ITA members “to strengthen their engagement in order to achieve a good outcome of the negotiations” to expand the agreement.  This builds on a similar call to action by APEC leaders last November in Honolulu and gives a boost to talks that have already begun among ITA members in Geneva to ambitiously increase product coverage of the agreement. 

John Neuffer, ITI’s vice president of global policy, heralded the APEC statement:

“APEC leaders understand the ITA is one of the most commercially successful trade agreements ever.  Given the current global economic uncertainty, expanding the ITA and eliminating tariffs on a whole new range of tech products would help to rapidly strengthen job creation and the world’s economic foundation.  

“Since its inception, two-way trade in products covered by the ITA has grown from $1.2 trillion to $4 trillion – an amazing 233 percent increase.  This growth has led to the creation of new companies, new jobs, and new opportunities across the country and the world.  Innovation, productivity, employment, and economic growth have all increased as a result of the ITA.  But we can do better.  Experts have determined that an expansion of the products covered by the ITA would have enormous benefit to the U.S. and global economies.  U.S. exports of high-tech products would increase by $2.8 billion; there would be approximately 60,000 new U.S. jobs; and global GDP would jump by $190 billion annually.

“For the United States and for the world, expanding the ITA really is a no-brainer.  It will spark new industries and jobs.  It will lead to significant innovation.  And it will help to lift the global economy out of the morass of uncertainty that we are in right now.

“ITI appreciates the leadership of U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and his team for their commitment to ITA expansion.  The innovation and technology sector stands ready to help USTR and the world’s negotiators to achieve this critical trade milestone.”

 

KEY FACTS ABOUT THE U.S.-APEC TRADE RELATIONSHIP

  • Nine of the top 15 U.S. export markets for goods are APEC Member Economies.
  • In 2010, U.S. exports to APEC accounted for almost 60 percent of overall U.S. exports.
  • In 2009, goods and services exports to APEC totaled $795 billion.
  • U.S. goods and services trade with APEC economies totaled $1.9 trillion in 2009 (latest data available for goods and services trade combined). Exports totaled $795 billion; Imports totaled $1.1 trillion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with APEC economies was $302 billion in 2009.