Negotiators Miss Opportunity to Conclude Expanded Information Technology Agreement

Friday, Dec 12, 2014, 8:05pm

by Semiconductor Industry Association

WASHINGTON—Dec. 12, 2014—Brian Toohey, president and CEO of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), today released the following statement in response to the World Trade Organization (WTO) announcement that a final deal to conclude an expanded Information Technology Agreement (ITA) was not reached this week in Geneva. The ITA is a key trade pact that promotes fair and open trade by providing for duty-free treatment of certain information and communications technology (ICT) products, including semiconductors.

“We are deeply disappointed in this outcome and believe it was a missed opportunity. A deal to expand the ITA would have eliminated tariffs on roughly $1 trillion in yearly sales of tech products, including next generation semiconductors known as multi-component semiconductors (MCOs), MRI machines, GPS devices, loudspeakers, solid state drives, video cameras, high-tech testing equipment, and other products that drive the digital economy and improve lives.

“Despite the lack of a positive outcome this week, many negotiating parties, including the U.S. negotiators, deserve praise for their flexibility and unrelenting commitment toward reaching a deal that would benefit industries and consumers around the world. Many parties made significant and difficult concessions in an attempt to reach a deal with the broader importance of a successful outcome to the global economy and WTO in mind. Ultimately, however, the parties represented could not reach agreement on product scope for inclusion. We do know that multi-component semiconductors, SIA’s highest priority for ITA expansion negotiations, were not the stumbling block.

“It is our hope that parties will recognize the concessions made by others, embrace the immense benefits that an ITA deal will bring, and not let this incredible opportunity pass by.

“Duty-free treatment for MCOs is one of SIA’s highest priorities, as it will have far-reaching and significant benefits for the semiconductor industry and the entire information communications technology (ICT) eco-system. SIA will continue to push for a positive outcome that will achieve duty-free treatment for MCOs as expeditiously as possible.”

About SIA

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) is the voice of the U.S. semiconductor industry, one of America’s top export industries and a key driver of America’s economic strength, national security and global competitiveness. Semiconductors – microchips that control all modern electronics – enable the systems and products that we use to work, communicate, travel, entertain, harness energy, treat illness, and make new scientific discoveries. The semiconductor industry directly employs nearly a quarter of a million people in the United States. In 2013, U.S. semiconductor company sales totaled $155 billion, and semiconductors make the global trillion dollar electronics industry possible. Founded in 1977 by five microelectronics pioneers, SIA unites companies that account for 80 percent of America’s semiconductor production. Through this coalition, SIA seeks to strengthen U.S. leadership of semiconductor design and manufacturing by working with Congress, the Administration and other key industry stakeholders to encourage policies and regulations that fuel innovation, propel business and drive international competition.