INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AGREEMENT
In her consultations with participants ahead of the meeting, the committee chair, Ms Katarzyna Stecz (Poland), said that several participants wished to see synergies between the ITA and other issues like e-commerce, digital transformation, climate change, environmental protection, electronics waste, and medical and health issues. Participants also expressed interest in inviting private sector representatives to brief the committee on the latest developments in the IT industry.
Participants at the meeting noted that the ITA could go beyond tariff issues and explore non-tariff barriers to IT trade. They suggested product classification methods should keep pace with advances in technology, highlighting the importance of updating the ITA product scope in the new Harmonized System (HS) nomenclature for the tariff classification of goods.
Some participants also suggested that the Secretariat update its IT trade data. Additionally, there were calls to increase access to greener information and communications technologies at the global level to support environmental objectives and for participants to share their national experience in the area of IT development.
The ITA Symposium, which marked the 25th anniversary of the ITA, provided an opportunity for ITA participants, leading industry representatives, government officials and parliamentarians to examine a range of important issues related to the ITA and share their perspectives on the future of the Agreement.
Delegates welcomed Lao PDR in the committee meeting as a participant in the ITA. Lao PDR's schedules of commitments for the ITA and ITA Expansion were previously approved at meetings of the ITA Committee and the 2015 ITA Expansion Group on 17 November 2021.
Many participants also took the floor to express their strong opposition to the conflict in Ukraine. Russia responded by saying that the WTO was not the proper venue for a discussion of this nature. A number of participants also stated that they would not support Belarus' accession application to the ITA.
The ITA was concluded by 14 participants at the Singapore Ministerial Conference in December 1996. Since then, the number of participants has grown to 55, representing 83 WTO members, which together account for 97% of world trade in IT products. At the Nairobi Ministerial Conference in December 2015, 24 participants concluded an ITA Expansion Agreement, which now has 28 participants, representing 55 WTO members and covering approximately 90 per cent of world trade in products covered by the ITA expansion.
ITA participants are committed to eliminating tariffs on IT products covered by the agreements to which they have acceded.
The ITA covers a large number of high‑tech products, including computers, telecommunication equipment, semiconductors, semiconductor manufacturing and testing equipment, software and scientific instruments, as well as most of the parts and accessories of these products.