May 18, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today in Qingdao, China trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum wrapped up their annual meeting to consider a range of issues related to trade and investment.  A central topic of discussion was whether a breakthrough could be achieved on expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA). All eyes were on China, which is both official host of APEC this year and the reason the ITA negotiations have been deadlocked since last November.

ITI Senior Vice President for Global Policy John Neuffer issued the following reaction to what transpired at the APEC meeting:

“We had hoped for a breakthrough on ITA expansion negotiations this weekend, but we did not get that. The discussions with China in Qingdao may, however, provide a path forward that would finally allow negotiators to move towards concluding this important agreement quickly. As creative solutions are explored with China and others, reduction of product sensitivities will be key to success. It will also be essential that these solutions capture the range of key goods critical to U.S. industry. Bottom line: a robust outcome that spurs growth, jobs, and innovation through significantly increased trade in tech products must be achieved.  We have all worked too hard to get to this point to settle for anything less.”

A statement issued this morning in Qingdao on APEC’s role in supporting the multilateral trading system by the ministers included this on ITA expansion:

“We underscore the importance of ITA expansion negotiations. We welcome that key participants have committed to find creative ways to move forward so that these negotiations can move towards a commercially significant and balanced conclusion in the shortest timeframe possible.”

Click here for the full APEC statement.