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Trade Taxes On IT Products Falling, WTO Says

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

02 November 2016

A large majority of countries that have agreed to the newly expanded Information Technology Agreement have implemented their tariff commitments under the deal, the World Trade Organization announced on November 1.

The original ITA was concluded in 1996. The expanded ITA, agreed at the Nairobi Ministerial Conference in December 2015, will eliminate tariffs on an additional 201 technology products. Products covered by the new ITA include video games consoles, GPS navigation systems, magnetic resonance imaging machines, telecommunications satellites, touch screens, and video cameras. It has been estimated that the products involved have a global export value of some USD1.3 trillion per year.

There were a total of 24 participants that signed the expanded ITA, including a total of 53 WTO members. 18 participants have now submitted modified tariff schedules and others are on track to do so, it was said.

The benefits of the expanded ITA are being extended to all 164 WTO members, meaning they will all enjoy duty-free access to the markets of the members eliminating tariffs on these products.

The WTO said that the agreement received a major boost on October 26, 2016, when China submitted its ITA expansion commitments to WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo.

It is anticipated that 95.4 percent of participants' import duties on products included in the expanded ITA will be fully eliminated by 2019, with the remaining tariffs to be completely removed by 2021 or 2023 at the latest.

TAGS: free trade agreement (FTA) | tariffs | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | China | agreements | Canada | trade

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