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Information Technology Agreement by WTO , 1996

The Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products (ITA) was concluded by 29 participants at the Singapore Ministerial Conference in December 1996. The number of participants has grown to 70, representing about 97 per cent of world trade in information technology products. The ITA provides for participants to completely eliminate duties on IT products covered by the Agreement. Developing country participants have been granted extended periods for some products.

Basic Principles of the ITA

The ITA is solely a tariff cutting mechanism. While the Declaration provides for the review of non-tariff barriers (NTBs), there are no binding commitments concerning NTBs. There are three basic principles that one must abide by to become an ITA participant:

1) All products listed in the Declaration must be covered,
2) All must be reduced to a zero tariff level,
3) All other duties and charges (ODCs) must be bound at zero.

There are no exceptions to product coverage, however for sensitive items, it is possible to have an extended implementation period. The commitments undertaken under the ITA in the WTO are on an MFN basis, and therefore benefits accrue to all other WTO Members.

Read Full Text of ITA

“15 Years of the Information Technology Agreement”

To mark the 15th anniversary of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) in 2012, this WTO research publication charts the history of the Agreement and the effect it has had on the global trade in information technology (IT) products. Details of the latest trends in IT trade and discussions on the future of the ITA make this publication a useful source of information for government officials and policy-makers as well as academics, students and all those involved in the IT sector.

The publication charts the signing of the ITA Ministerial Declaration, in Singapore, in December 1996, the formation of the ITA Committee and the role played by the private sector in establishing this agreement. As well as examining the products covered by the ITA, the publication looks at how the Agreement is implemented, and the impact it has had on trade opening and innovation. The publication also analyses how the development of global production networks has affected IT trade. It concludes with an assessment of the opportunities for developing countries and the future of the ITA.

The publication provides a list of all ITA participants and the dates that they joined, along with the latest data on the IT sector — including a world export list of products covered by the Agreement.

Read Full  Research Publication

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