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NZ Welcomes New Int'l IT Product Free Trade Deal

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

18 December 2015

New Zealand's Trade Minister, Todd McClay, has welcomed the successful conclusion of negotiations on the expansion of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Information Technology Agreement (ITA) in Nairobi, Kenya.

"This agreement will remove tariffs from 201 products, including new-generation semi-conductors, GPS navigation systems, MRI machines, telecommunications satellites, and touch screens," McClay said. "These are 21st century products that New Zealanders use in different ways every day. This announcement is excellent news for the WTO, for the IT industry, and for New Zealand consumers."

"This is a real milestone, and I am proud that New Zealand has played its part in getting these difficult negotiations across the line. The WTO estimates that the value of global trade covered in the expanded ITA is NZD1.9 trillion (USD1.3 trillion) annually," the Minister said. "The value of New Zealand's exports of the products covered is some NZD1bn annually. These products account for approximately 10 percent of global trade. Phasing out tariffs on these IT products will be a real boost to the global economy."

The original ITA dates back to 1996 and has been expanded to account for the rapidly evolving technologies in the IT sector.

Tariff reductions under the expanded ITA will commence from July 1, 2016, after each participant has completed its domestic implementation procedures. The participants will eliminate all tariffs on the relevant products imported from all WTO members within a maximum of seven years, with most tariffs eliminated with the next three years.

TAGS: tax | export duty | tariffs | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | internet | Kenya | New Zealand | import duty | trade | telecoms

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