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WTO NEWS: 2003 NEWS ITEMS

17 November 2003
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Morocco joins WTO's Information Technology Agreement

Morocco, on 14 November 2003, joined a WTO agreement on removing all tariff barriers to information technology products such as personal computers and telecoms equipment.

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The Committee of Participants on the Expansion of Trade in Information Technology Products approved the participation Morocco, which, which became the 61st member of the WTO's Information Technology Agreement (ITA).

Morocco's Ambassador Omar Hilale presented his country's membership request to the Committee on 5 November 2003. He said that Morocco's imports of IT products have been rising in recent years due to tariff cuts, adding that Rabat intends to eliminate most of these tariffs by 1 April 2004 under the ITA. Ambasador Hilale said that joining the ITA would make prices of IT inputs in Morocco more competitive and send the right signal to foreign investors.

From the 29 participants that negotiated the ITA during WTOĺs First Ministerial Conference in Singapore in December 1996, membership has now risen to 61 that account for about 97% of world trade in IT products.

Participation in the ITA means that the country must eliminate tariffs and all other duties and charges on covered IT imports from all WTO members.