The ITA turns 15. Now what?
Happy Quinceañera, Information Technology Agreement. At 15 years old, it is high time negotiators expand the ITA in product coverage and membership!
May 2012 marks the 15th Anniversary of the Information Technology Agreement, or ITA. Currently, the ITA has 70 signatories and covers more than 97% of the world trade in information and communication technology (ICT) products.
The ITA includes ICT products such as computers, circuits, fax machines, and components for ICT products. One major drawback of the ITA, however, is that the products included as part of the ITA have not expanded at the rate of technology—in fact, the product list has not been updated at all since the ITA was implemented. This poses a problem for businesses that may have an ICT product that was not yet envisioned 15 years ago. Furthermore, products under the ITA are classified in two ways: by Tariff Code in Attachment A, and by description in Attachment B. Offering little guidance, these attachments may conflict, impeding global trade in ICT products due to confusion over whether a product is included.
Recent talks within the WTO have emerged about revisiting the ITA including:
The United States has taken the lead with other key ICT manufacturing countries to launch expansion of the ITA, known as ITA-2. Mexico has indicated willingness to join. New WTO member, Russia, has agreed to sign on. Of particular interest is expansion of the ITA to include Brazil which has prohibitively high tariffs on wide range of ICT products, but their participation is not expected anytime soon.
Launching the ITA2 is a "no-brainer" and we encourage ITA members to move forward on comprehensive expansion as soon as possible to benefit ICT manufacturers in their global supply chains. It is one sector in which immediate tariff elimination should be the norm.
Does your business manufacture and export ICT products? If you have questions about whether you may be able to take advantage of the ITA or other trade preference programs, or whether your product is correctly classified in order to fall under the umbrella of the ITA, don’t hesitate to contact TradeMoves. Our mission is to facilitate the movement of your products across borders in order to help your business achieve its maximum potential.
Elena Aceves / EAceves@trademoves.net / 443.668.8683
Shawn Marie Jarosz / SJarosz@trademoves.net / 240.242.8108
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