News: ITA II will eliminate tariffs on 90 percent of trade in IT goods.
International tariffs on IT products are being slashed in the World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s biggest such deal since its foundation.
The second Information Technology Agreement (ITA II) will eliminate tariffs on 90 percent of trade in IT goods.
The new agreement covers 201 products, including headphones, games consoles, specialist medical devices and navigations systems.
24 members of the WTO are committing to the deal, comprising the EU plus 23 other states.
The landmark deal guarantees that no tariffs will be paid on 10 percent of global trade, or about $1.3 trillion in total.
Under the terms of the new agreement, the majority of the tariffs will be eliminated on the products within three years. Reductions will begin in 2016.
Key to the deal is the inclusion of China alongside others such as the US and Canada. Since China has historically charged high tariffs, it is hoped that this deal will open up it up as a new markets for other exporters as China shifts away from its export-led growth model towards a consumer society.
For example, in the US, applied duties on parts of telephone handsets are at 8.5 percent, while China applies 35 percent duties on video cameras.
Trade and Investment Minister Francis Maude said:
"This landmark free trade agreement will not only boost UK IT exports, but also has the potential to lower prices for consumers on a range of items such as headphones and games consoles.
"Zero tariffs on UK exports where we already lead the field, such as medical devices and precision equipment, will boost sales by a projected £113 million further strengthening our economy."
The original ITA was reached on 13 December 1996 at the first WTO Ministerial Conference in Singapore, through a "Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products". It covered floppy disks and mobile phones.