by John Neuffer, President and CEO
With negotiations to expand product coverage of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) finally back on track, global industry today issued an unambiguous call to the negotiating parties to reach agreement next week on the scope of products to be covered in this bold initiative.
In a statement released today, more than 80 associations from around the world called on negotiators “to finally conclude a strong tariff-elimination agreement during the next round of talks scheduled to resume the week of July 13 in Geneva.”
The statement added that “Too many benefits from ITA expansion have been left on hold for too long. The moment has arrived for the negotiating parties to finally wrap up an historic triumph for global trade and demonstrate the World Trade Organization’s ability to deliver negotiating results that lead to tangible market opening.”
Recall the talks failed to conclude last December, though they came within an eyelash of getting done.
Wrapping up negotiations on product scope next week will be a critical step so that discussions on tariff-elimination phase-in schedules (so-called staging) and other necessary technical work can be completed by the WTO Ministerial Conference scheduled to convene in Nairobi in mid-December.
ITA expansion would eliminate tariffs on roughly $1 trillion in yearly sales of semiconductors and other tech products. It would also spur global GDP by roughly $190 billion annually. We expect the final package to include next-generation semiconductors known as MCOs and a wide array of products that incorporate semiconductors, such as MRI machines, GPS devices, solid state drives, video game consoles, loud speakers, video cameras, and sophisticated testing equipment.
Industry will again be strongly represented in Geneva next week. Along with SIA, there will be a number of industry representatives from the tech sector and several other associations, including AdvaMed, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), and the Liquid Crystal Polymers Coalition. DIGITALEUROPE, Japan Business Machine and Information System Industries Association (JBMIA), and the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA) will also be in Geneva to press for conclusion of negotiations.
This effort has gone on for three years now. The negotiators need to conclude product-scope discussions next week so that tariff-elimination commitments can be implemented as soon as possible. The time for delay has passed.
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