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Information Technology Agreement (ITA). Presentation for ITU-WTO Workshop 2 December 2004. By Denby Probst, Counsellor, Market Access Division. Background of the ITA. Further liberalization desired in the Uruguay Round on IT products not achieved

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Information Technology Agreement (ITA)

Presentation for ITU-WTO Workshop

2 December 2004

By Denby Probst, Counsellor, Market Access Division

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Background of the ITA

  • Further liberalization desired in the Uruguay Round on IT products not achieved

  • Negotiations began among major trading partners in 1996 to achieve the ITA

  • Singapore Ministerial (1996)--Establishment of a Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products (ITA)


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What is the ITA?

Main Points

  • Plurilateral initiative;

  • Among WTO Members and acceding states or separate customs territories;

  • To eliminate tariffs on information technology products as outlined in the Annexes attached thereto;

  • That are applied on an MFN basis

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Definition of Information Technology

  • There is no definition of information technology in the Declaration.

    Information technology products are only defined by their inclusion in Attachment A or Attachment B of the Declaration

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Information Technology Products

  • Computers

  • Telecommunications

  • Semiconductors

  • Semiconductor manufacturing equipment

  • Software

  • Scientific Instruments

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  • Line telephony (HS 8517)—telephones, fax machines, switching apparatus

  • Transmission apparatus (HS 8525)—not radio or TV broadcasting

  • Portable receivers (HS 852790)—for calling, alerting or paging

  • Optical fibre cables (HS 854470)

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  • No exceptions to product coverage, all products must be bound at zero

  • Flexibility allowed with respect to staging of concessions: --basic staging to 2000 --extended staging to 2005 for those original participants

    --today, staging to 2008 for some recent participants

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Other aspects of the Declaration

  • To consider classification divergences, beginning with the products specified in Attachment B

  • Periodic review of the product coverage

  • To consult on non-tariff trade barriers

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ITA Today

  • 63 Participants (including the Member states of the European Communities)

  • Accounting for approximately 97 % of world trade in information technology products

  • Trade of IT products covered by the ITA has been as high as 16.5% in 2000, dropping slightly to 12% of world trade today.

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NTM Work Programme

  • In November 2000, the Committee launched an “NTM Work Programme” to identify NTMs and assess their impact on IT trade

  • Many of the issues raised concern standards/conformity assessment issues, but there are others concerning customs procedures, transparency, and government procurement, etc...

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EMC/EMI Conformity Assessment

  • One NTB, Electromagnetic compatability/Electromagnetic interference was chosen as a pilot project.

  • It was a requirement for a lot of IT equipment that involved relatively low-risk for the consumer

  • The Committee has proceeded with drafting possible “Guidelines” for conformity assessment procedures, including the use of 1st, 3rd party, and SDoC.

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  • As a result of the finalization of the ITA in April 1997, participants decided on an expedited review of the product coverage to commence in 1997

  • Work continued during 1998 and1999.

  • The Committee still takes up the matter at each meeting, but there has been no agreement to add new products as of today

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Doha Negotiations

  • Opportunity for all WTO Members to improve market access for their products

  • Members will need to identify priority areas to negotiate, both in tariffs and non-tariff measures

  • Will provide improved possibilities for trade of IT and related goods

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The End

The End