December 16, 2015

WASHINGTON – The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), the global voice of the tech sector, released the following statement today from Senior Vice President for Global Policy Josh Kallmer on the conclusion of negotiations to expand the World Trade Organization (WTO) Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which originally concluded in December 1996, to eliminate import tariffs on information technology products. Expansion of the ITA, which is estimated to cover $1.3 trillion in annual global exports, has been a long-sought priority for ITI:

“The technology sector welcomes this historic agreement to bring the aging ITA up-to-date to reflect the vast technological changes that have occurred over the past two decades. Starting on July 1, 2016, this agreement will eliminate tariffs on an entirely new set of 201 technology products that weren’t even conceived of, or on the market, in the late 1990s. The products include new generation semi-conductors, semi-conductor manufacturing equipment, optical lenses, GPS navigation equipment, and medical equipment, such as magnetic resonance imaging products and ultra-sonic scanning apparatus. By lowering the costs of both inputs and final products, the ITA expansion will help usher in new waves of global innovation and connectivity, enhanced productivity, research and development, as well as economic growth and job creation.”

“From a policy-making perspective, this is a needed win for the WTO and the multilateral trading system. These negotiations demonstrate to the world that the WTO can work and agreements among a set of WTO members can be a key tool for eliminating barriers to trade. The lesson of the ITA negotiations could be that we’re better off negotiating among a small set of WTO members rather than negotiating in an all-encompassing, multi-lateral context like the Doha Development Agenda, which has failed to deliver on its promise.”

“We congratulate the United States, led by U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and his hard-working, dedicated team of negotiators, for securing this historic deliverable. We strongly urge those original ITA participants who have not yet joined ITA expansion, like India and Indonesia, to take the steps necessary to join it. We equally urge WTO members who have not yet joined the original ITA, such as Brazil, Mexico, and Chile, to take the steps necessary to join both the ITA and its expansion.”

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Public Policy Tags: Trade & Investment