by John Neuffer, President and CEO
Following the good news on Friday the product list to expand the scope of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) was formally approved in Geneva, Taiwan today has decided to climb on board to officially support the list and the accompanying declaration.
Taiwan was one of five parties in the ITA talks unable to give final approval to the product list by last Friday’s deadline, citing the need for additional time to complete domestic consultations. With only one working day delay, Taiwan has completed its consultation process with local industry and is notifying Geneva of its decision to approve the product list and declaration.
Taiwan has been an important and enthusiastic player in the ITA negotiations over the past three years. It is a major exporter and importer of many of the 201 items included on the expanded product list and stands to see an estimated net benefit of US $820 million per year in tariff reductions after the deal takes effect.
Taiwan’s approval today is also an important step in reaching critical mass. The countries signing the accord must account for 90 percent of global trade in the technology products covered by the agreement.
While four countries — Thailand, Turkey, Colombia and Mauritius — are still undergoing domestic procedures, they are expected to give final approvals soon. When they do join, we will have another good day for free trade. But for now, it’s hats off to Taiwan.
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