INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AGREEMENT

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Implementation issues concerning India and China were flagged once more at the Committee meeting. WTO members raised concerns about the import duties that India has introduced on mobile phones and their parts, which members consider to be covered by the ITA.

They also expressed concern about India's latest rectification notification, which sought to "unbind" the duties relating to these products. They felt that the Indian proposal would alter the scope of India's concessions and thus could not be considered rectification of a purely formal character.

Members also sought clarifications from China on the new tariffs on certain semi-conductor products covered by the ITA.

Members urged India and China to bring their trade measures in line with the ITA and to grant duty-free market access for those products.

Under the work programme on non-tariff barriers, Switzerland updated the Committee on the work of the informal group of members, which is focusing on issues such as conformity assessment, transparency and e-labelling.

Reporting to the Committee on behalf of the ITA Expansion group, Canada said it was pleased to note that all 26 participants (representing 55 WTO members) in the ITA Expansion have now submitted their ITA Expansion commitments under the 1980 Decision for Modification and Rectification of Schedules of Tariff Concessions.

Background

The Information Technology Agreement (ITA) was concluded by 29 participants at the Singapore Ministerial Conference in December 1996. Since then, the number of participants has grown to 82, representing about 97 per cent of world trade in IT products. The participants are committed to completely eliminating tariffs on IT products covered by the Agreement.

The ITA Expansion was concluded at the Nairobi Ministerial Conference in December 2015, with 26 participants representing 55 WTO members. Trade under the ITA Expansion covers an additional 201 products valued at over $1.3 trillion per year.

The benefits of concessions under both the ITA and ITA Expansion are being extended to all 164 WTO members, meaning they all enjoy duty-free access to the markets of the members eliminating tariffs on these products.

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