WTO members sign landmark deal on IT product tariff cuts
http://www.chemnet.com Dec 29,2015 Xinhua Over 50 World Trade Organization (WTO) members have reached agreement on phasing out tariffs on imports of 201 information technology products.
The deal was announced at a WTO ministerial conference in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.
The Information Technology Agreement (ITA) expansion, which will ultimately remove tariffs on products such as printers, cartridges, video cameras, DVDs, and medical care products, will enable all WTO members enjoy duty-free market access.
"I am delighted to mark this breakthrough here today at the ministerial conference," said WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo. "This is a very significant achievement."
According to the WTO, annual trade in ITA products is valued at 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars, accounting for about a tenth of total global trade.
"Eliminating tariffs on trade of this magnitude will have a huge impact. It will support lower prices -- including in many other sectors that use IT products as inputs -- it will create jobs and it will help to boost GDP growth around the world," the WTO chief said.
"This agreement is the first major tariff elimination deal at the WTO since 1996. I hope that this success will serve to inspire progress elsewhere in our work," he added.
For every product on the list, ITA participants have negotiated the level of reductions and over how many years it will fully eliminate the tariffs.
As a result of these negotiations, about 65 percent of tariff lines will be fully eliminated by July 1, 2016. Most of the remaining tariff lines will be completely phased out in four stages over three years, meaning that by 2019 almost all imports of the relevant products will be duty-free, according to the WTO.
The biannual WTO ministerial conference from Tuesday to Friday is the first such meeting on African soil in two decades.