The purposes of the symposium are:
- to conduct a review of trade liberalization and evolution of global trade in information and communications technology (ICT) products since 1996, and their impact on developing countries;
- to have an overview of the latest developments in the ICT sector (new technology, technological innovation, and the global supply chain), the socio-economic benefits, and as an enabler of sustainable development; and
- to look towards the future, what are the prospects for, and challenges to, a further expansion of trade in ICT products?
Director-General Pascal Lamy will give the welcome address and preside over the launching of the book “15 Years of the Information Technology Agreement: Trade, innovation and global production networks”.
The ITA Symposium, the Director-General said at the General Council meeting on 1 May, “will provide an excellent occasion to look at how the elimination of tariffs in this sector has spurred innovation, has provided affordable access to technologies and has helped oil other sectors of the economy. It is also meant to serve as a stark reminder of how trade opening can be a win-win game for all its participants, developed and developing countries.”
He added: “As we look back on this sectoral agreement now covering 74 members, I hope it can serve as example of how to move forward pragmatically in opening trade. I also hope it can help bring the ITA agreement to a new phase of greater opening and new participants.”
Keynote addresses will be given by former US Trade Representative Ms Charlene Barshefsky and Vice Chairman of Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association Dr Ryoji Chubachi.
Resource speakers will include representatives from leading companies like Microsoft Corporation, Cisco Systems, Nokia Corporation and Hewlett-Packard.
The Chairman of the ITA Committee, Mr Zahari MD ALI, will serve as facilitator.
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 74, representing 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.
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