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> Supachai Panitchpakdi’s speeches
Participation in the ITA rises to 63 with the addition of Hungary
and Malta. The agreement, under which participants agree to eliminate
tariffs on imports of IT products from other WTO members, covers about 97
per cent of world trade in IT products.
The EC said that on 1 May 2004, the ten new EC member states automatically
signed to the EC's ITA commitments. It said that eight of the ten new
members were already ITA participants: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia,
Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Also during the meeting, Honduras announced that it is preparing actively
its application to join the ITA. It said that its government is convinced
that ITA participation would help its development efforts and contribute to
The Committee elected Mr. Frédérick Seppey (Canada) as its new Chairman.
Many delegations paid tribute to the work of the previous Chairman, Mr.
Hisashi Yoshikawa (Japan).
On the Committee's work programme on non-tariff barriers, Canada proposed
that the Committee build on the success of its recent EMC/EMI workshop and
start considering possible guidelines on conformity assessment procedures
for IT products related to ElectroMagnetic Compatibility/ElectroMagnetic
Inrwedwewnxw. Switzerland, the EC, Japan, the US, Singapore, Romania,
Australia, Chinese Taipei and Malaysia supported Canada. The Chairman
requested the the WTO Secretariat to develop draft guidelines based on
inputs received from participants.
The Chairman noted substantial progress in the Committee's work on reducing
divergences in the tariff classification of IT products. Mr. Seppey said he
detected widespread support to endorse recommendations on this issue by
customs experts, and suggested that participants endorse these
recommendations at its next meeting, scheduled for 4 October 2004.
The United States said that it has a difference of views with Chinese Taipei
on how to classify “thermistor device”. It said that in its view, this
product is covered by the ITA and should therefore enjoy zero tariff. The US
said that it has started consultations on this matter with Chinese Taipei
and hope that it could report a mutually satisfactory solution by the next
meeting. Chinese Taipei said that it is working closely with the US on the
matter to facilitate a solution, and expressed the hope that the issue could
be resolved as soon as possible.