A global alliance of trade associations has joined together to urge China to take a fresh look at its position regarding the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) expansion negotiations and return to the table with a proposal that can lead to a strong outcome. In a joint letter signed by the heads of 35 trade associations from developing and developed countries around the world, we urged Vice Premier Wang to help bring this important initiative to a successful conclusion this year.
An ambitious, balanced, and commercially significant expansion of the ITA would provide an important boost to the WTO as an institution and the global economy. By one good estimate, ITA expansion would add $190 billion to global GDP annually. As a significant player in the global tech industry, China stands to be one of the largest beneficiaries of an expanded ITA, which would give a boost to the Chinese economy and help to strengthen China’s innovation capacity.
Mr. Vice Premier, we urge China to continue to view this moment in trade history as a leadership opportunity to bolster global commerce in information and communications technology goods, spur worldwide growth, and give greater relevance to the work of the WTO.
As we discussed extensively last week, the ITA expansion talks in Geneva were suspended when China’s negotiators put forward a disproportionately large list of products to be excluded from the negotiations -- far more than any other participant in the talks. It was clearly not a list that would have led to the conclusion of the talks that everyone had hoped for last week. Without China showing flexibility to move in the right direction, why would others do the same?
** Listen as John discusses the global business letter to Vice Premier Wang. **
The pause in the negotiations, however, gives China an opportunity to step back, reexamine its outsized sensitivities product lists, and come back to the negotiating table with an approach that will get this trade negotiation across the finish line. That’s the point of the multi-association letter today. ITA expansion is important to the global economy. It could add $190 billion to the global GDP each year. As the world’s number one exporter of tech products, China needs to be a part of this deal. Beijing charting a better course will be good for Beijing and the rest of the world.