by Semiconductor Industry Association
In a letter released today, the World Semiconductor Council (WSC) — representing semiconductor industry leaders in China, Chinese Taipei, Europe, Japan, Korea and the United States — urged the trade ministers from the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies gathering in Qingdao, China on May 17-18 to reach a breakthrough in the negotiations to significantly expand tariff-free product coverage of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA).
The WSC, its six individual association members, and the Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association, together with more than 80 trade associations from around the world, also signed a Global Industry Statement released this week with the same urgent call to kick-start ITA expansion negotiations at the upcoming APEC Trade Ministers Meeting.
An expanded ITA, with an estimated value of over $1.4 trillion of annual world trade, would be one of the most valuable agreements for the global high tech industry in over a decade. It would provide the first opportunity to include newly developed products resulting from the dynamic technological developments in the information technology sector since 1996, when the ITA was originally concluded.
The WSC seeks expanded coverage for new and innovative semiconductor products, including multi-component semiconductors (MCOs). MCOs comprise a growing share of the global semiconductor market, and will be key to continued growth and innovation in a vast range of downstream products, services, and sectors, providing the basis for much needed economic growth and jobs. Inclusion of MCOs in an expanded ITA would result in global annual tariff savings of between $150-300 million.
ITA negotiations made tremendous progress last year, but stalled when China was unable to meet the ambition level of virtually all the other ITA negotiating parties. After six months of suspended negotiations, the WSC urges APEC leaders to re-energize its deep ties with the ITA and exercise leadership to re-start negotiations.
Any further delay to the resumption and successful conclusion of an ambitious and commercially meaningful ITA expansion would represent a serious missed opportunity to bring the ITA in line with current technological advancement and reap the benefits of technological progress and enable a higher standard of living.
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