Trillion-dollar world trade deal aims to make IT products cheaper

WTO members negotiated to cut tariffs on more than 200 tech products

Data

Data

A new global trade agreement that eliminates tariffs on more than 200 kinds of IT products should result in lower prices to technology buyers around the world as it is implemented over the next three years.

The tentative deal, struck on Friday at a World Trade Organization meeting in Geneva, affects a wide variety of products ranging from smartphones, routers, and ink cartridges to video game consoles and telecommunications satellites. It covers US$1.3 trillion worth of global trade, about 7 percent of total trade today.

Import duties won't be removed immediately. They will begin to be phased out next year, and eliminated within three years, the European Commission said. The new deal extends the 1996 Information Technology Agreement that eliminated customs duties on IT products such as computers, telephones, digital cameras and their parts. The list of items covered under the new agreement includes finished products as well as manufacturing equipment and components.

"This deal will cut costs for consumers and business -- in particular for smaller firms, which have been hit especially hard by excessive tariffs in the past," Cecilia Malmström, EU Trade Commissioner, said in a statement.

A full list of products covered was published by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which called the ITA expansion "great news for the American workers and businesses that design, manufacture, and export state-of-the-art technology and information products, ranging from MRI machines to semiconductors to video game consoles." The U.S. annually exports $100 billion worth of technology products covered by the expanded product list, it said.

With an agreement in place about what products will be covered, representatives from the participating countries will work out details of the plan at the WTO's 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi this December, the WTO said. The WTO hopes the deal will be finalized there, a spokesman said.

The WTO members involved in the negotiations included the EU and its 28 countries, as well as Albania, Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Hong Kong, China, Iceland, Israel, Japan; Korea, Malaysia, Mauritius, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Chinese Taipei, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, and the U.S.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags governmenttrade

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?