Mike Moore's speeches
Renato Ruggiero's speeches,
we do not yet have an agreement on the removal of tariffs for trade in Information
Technology products, the results of the negotiations over the weekend were certainly very
encouraging. We now have commitments from countries representing more than 90% of the
world market in IT products, putting us over the threshold that was set for an agreement.
"Trade in IT
products is valued at over $500 billion, comparable to trade in agriculture. But the
importance of the Information Technology Agreement cannot be measured in numbers alone.
Taken together with the historic accord on telecommunications reached last month, an ITA
holds the potential to unlock enormous gains in development and growth which would benefit
all countries, developed and developing alike. Knowledge is the most essential raw
material of the global economy and with the progress we have made in these negotiations we
are clearly laying the foundation for the trading system of the 21st century."
Note to Editors:
Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products (ITA) was signed on 13
December 1996 in Singapore by 28 governments at the conclusion of the first WTO
Ministerial Conference. It provides for the elimination of customs duties and other
charges on information technology products through equal annual reductions beginning on 1
July 1997 and concluding on 1 January 2000. These tariff cuts are to be implemented by
participants on an m.f.n. basis (applicable to all WTO Members). The implementation of the
agreement is contingent on the signing on of other participants that would result in
raising the agreement's coverage to approximately 90 per cent of world trade in IT
provides for the submission of draft schedules by 1 March 1997. As of that date, 18
schedules had been received by the WTO Secretariat from the following: Canada, Costa Rica,
Estonia, European Communities, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Macau,
Malaysia, Norway, Romania, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand and the United States. The
following have indicated their participation and are expected to submit their schedules in
the next few days: Australia, New Zealand, Turkey and Chinese Taipei. Israel has also
indicated its intention of participating and of submitting a schedule this week.
provides that by 1 April 1997, the participants should review and approve the schedules on
a consensus basis, and determine formally if the 90 per cent threshold for implementation
has been reached.
covers five main categories of products: computers (including printers, scanners,
monitors, hard-disk drives, power supplies, etc.), telecom products (including telephone
sets, fax machines, modems, pagers, etc.), semiconductors (including chips and wafers),
semiconductor manufacturing equipment, software (e.g. diskettes and CD-ROMs) and