WTO members seal IT trade deal worth $1tn


World Trade Organisation (WTO) members finalised a deal on Friday to cut tariffs on $1 trillion worth of information technology products in a boost for producers of goods ranging from video games to medical equipment.

The agreement to update the WTO’s 18-year-old Information Technology Agreement (ITA) adds more than 200 products to the list of goods covered by zero-tariff and duty-free trade.

The US Trade Representative said more than $100 billion of US exports alone would be covered by the updated agreement and industry estimates showed the removal of tariffs could support up to 60,000 additional jobs.

“ITA’s expansion is great news for the American workers and businesses that design, manufacture, and export state-of-the-art technology and information products, ranging from MRI machines to semiconductors to video game consoles,” US Trade Representative Michael Froman said.

Technology manufacturers like General Electric Co, Intel Corporation, Texas Instruments Inc, Microsoft Corp and Nintendo Co are among companies expected to benefit from the deal.

Additional duty-free products include computer software and software media, video game consoles, printer ink cartridges, GPS devices, medical devices such as MRI machines and next generation semiconductors, the Technology CEO Council said.

“That definitely impacts Intel and that’s important but also as important are other technologies that it covers that were not even dreamt of when the original ITA was negotiated,” said Lisa Malloy, Intel communications director.

“Things like ... health devices and GPS (are) technologies that semiconductors and Intel hope to power in the years to come.”