Associations Call for ITA Agreement

IT associations from around the world have called for an early conclusion to talks on the Information Technology Agreement (ITA). It is hoped that the talks will reach an end before the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies meet in Beijing on 10th and 11th November.

The ITA defines tarrifs on many technology products at 0%, but has not been updated since it came into effect in 1996. Last year (Display Monitor Vol 20 No 27 – 46) saw discussions in Geneva about its expansion. However, these were deadlocked (mainly by China), when a list of products to be covered could not be agreed upon.

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The value of the items China wanted to exclude last year amounted to about 48% of the $1 trillion value of the expanded agreement. The country was thought to have a trade surplus in the product categories it wants excluded of around $49 billion. It has both the most to gain from an agreement and the most to lose if a new deal is not signed. (TA)