WTO: 2011 NEWS ITEMS

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AGREEMENT

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The European Union reiterated its proposal to expand the coverage of products and participants under the ITA in written replies to questions from the ASEAN members. It said that negotiating an IT sectoral in the ITA Committee seemed now to be more promising than in the NAMA (non-agricultural market access) Negotiating Group, given the current state of play in the negotiations.

The EU also said that non-tariff barriers in the IT sector that have been discussed in NAMA could also be taken up in the ITA Committee.

The Philippines, Japan and the United States said they were still studying the EU paper.

The Russian Federation said that as part of its accession to the WTO, it was committed to duty-free treatment for products covered by the ITA. To encourage the IT industry in Russia, it intends to fully join the ITA, and would be submitting a letter to the ITA Committee Chair to this effect, including a schedule of its commitments. The Russian Federation said it hopes to join the ITA when it becomes a member of the WTO, adding that it intended to annex its ITA schedule to its Protocol of Accession.

The United States, Japan and Chinese Taipei welcomed Russia's commitment. The US added that it was reflective of Russia's interest to fully integrate its economy with other WTO members.

The Committee agreed to revert to a draft decision regarding divergences in the tariff classification of certain products covered by the ITA after China, El Salvador, Guatemala and India said they were still studying it. Japan urged its adoption as soon as possible.

The Committee agreed to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the ITA next year by organizing a symposium in the second quarter of 2012.

The Committee elected Mr Zahari MD ALI (Malaysia) as its new chairperson.

 

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