The United States and China have reached a breakthrough in negotiations on eliminating duties on a wide range of technology products. The deal could lead to the first major tariff-cutting agreement at the World Trade Organization in 17 years. United States Trade Representative Michael Froman stated the breakthrough would allow the “swift conclusion” on talks to the expand the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) at the WTO in Geneva later this year. The expansion would reduce global tariffs on products such as medical equipment, GPS devices, video game consoles and next generation semiconductors.
The ITA went into effect in 1997 and now covers more than $4 trillion in annual trade. Participants to the ITA commit to eliminating tariffs on such items as computers, computer software, telecommunication equipment and other advanced technology products. An expanded ITA would reduce more than 200 tariff lines to zero and eliminate tariffs on about $1 trillion worth of global sales on IT products.
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