U.S. and WTO Partners Announce Final Agreement on Landmark Expansion of Information Technology Agreement
A major win for the World Trade Organization, producers of technology products, and consumers around the world
The United States and over 50 developed and developing country partners at the World Trade Organization (WTO) announced today a landmark expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) that will generate economic growth by phasing out hundreds of tariffs on information technology exports all over the world.
This is the first major tariff-elimination deal at the WTO in 18 years. Today’s announcement demonstrates that the WTO can deliver real, commercially significant results, and will eliminate tariffs on hundreds of Made-In-America information technology products.
ITA Expansion will unlock global economic opportunities at home and abroad. The WTO estimates that ITA Expansion will eliminate tariffs on approximately $1.3 trillion in annual global exports of information and communications technology (ICT) products, which global industry estimates will increase annual global GDP by an estimated $190 billion.
The United States is a world leader in information technology. Under ITA expansion, over $180 billion in annual American technology exports will no longer face burdensome tariffs in key markets around the globe, according to the WTO. In addition, ITA expansion will lower costs for downstream manufacturing and services industries that rely on ICT parts and components as inputs, increasing their competitiveness.
“Expanding the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) to cover a wide array of additional products promises to be a major boost to U.S. technology exports and the jobs that support them,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. “It’s great news for the American workers and businesses that design, manufacture, and export state-of-the-art technology and information products, ranging from high-tech healthcare devices to advanced semiconductors to software media. It also importantly demonstrates that the WTO can deliver results with pragmatic approaches and helps build momentum for our ongoing talks in Nairobi. ITA expansion will eliminate hundreds of tariffs on billions of dollars in additional American technology exports all over the world. ”
The original Information Technology Agreement concluded in 1996. But despite the tremendous growth in global trade in technology products, which has nearly tripled to over $4 trillion annually, the scope of the ITA had never been updated. To grow these benefits and capitalize on American technological advantages, President Obama engaged the United States in these negotiations to expand the ITA in 2012.
In July 2015, the parties reached agreement on the ITA expansion list of 201 products, and will now proceed to eliminate tariffs on those goods.