Mr. Martin Harvey (Deputy Permanent Representative of New Zealand), reported that his
recent consultations had led him to believe that a deal can be achieved. He said he was
encouraged that delegations were communicating and exchanging proposals, but noted that
the process could not continue forever.
Mr. Harvey said that
agreement on what could be considered a modest addition of products to the ITA I did not
need a huge amount of time from delegations, but every bit of flexibility would be
required to resolve the outstanding issues. He encouraged participants to conduct
intensive negotiations in the days preceding the 20 November meeting.
delegations said they intended to participate in a constructive way to what they
considered to be the final effort to concluded ITA II.
that after intensive negotiations, the participants were close to an agreement. The United
States said that prospects for reaching agreement was high, adding that the forthcoming
Transatlantic Dialogue and the APEC Summit could assist in providing solutions to the
said that the participants have reached a critical stage in the negotiations and that it
felt confident that the divergences could be overcome. However, it said it would be
difficult to extend the negotiations if no package could be achieved by November.
Australia said they remained committed to a reduced but balanced package.
that as proof of its flexibility in the negotiations, it had decided to withdraw some
items from its request list: loudspeakers, colour television, and black and white picture
tubes. It stressed that all other products in its list remained. Malaysia called on its
trading partners to also show flexibility in the negotiations.
that it would contribute to moving the negotiations forward through providing more
specificity regarding two products on the ITA II table: radar equipment and computer panel
that it continued to believe that dual- or multi-use products should be removed from the
ITA II list, and stressed that only information technology products should remain in the
Communities said that the Chairman's consultations apparently did not promise a bright
future for the negotiations, which coincided with its assessment of the situation.
However, it was determined to pursue contacts with other participants on all levels. The
EC said it was prepared to consider constructively the definition of products proposed for
ITA II, which it emphasized should be as consistent as possible. It expressed moderate
optimism with respect to what it considered to be the last effort in the ITA II
also considered two other issues in its work programmeconsultations on non-tariff
barriers and divergences in the tariff classification of covered productsand agreed
to resume serious work on them after the conclusion of ITA II.
the Kyrgyz Republic, whose respective memberships were approved by the WTO General Council
on 14 October, reported to the Committee that their ITA Schedules had been incorporated in
their GATT Schedules, which were in the process of approval in their respective
Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products (ITA) was agreed at
the first WTO Ministerial Conference held in December 1996 in Singapore. It provides for
participants to eliminate customs duties and other duties and charges on information
technology products (contained in the annexes) by the year 2000, on an m.f.n. basis
(applied to all WTO members). The ITA also provided an opportunity for participants to
expand the agreement's product coverage (ITA II) through negotiations. Last February, the
Committee started considering proposals in this regard from 14 participants. There are
currently 44 participants to the ITA, which together account for 93 per cent of world
trade in information technology products.