BRIEF NOTE ON STATUS REGARDING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AGREEMENT (ITA-II)

 

1. Background on Information Technology Agreement

During the Singapore Ministerial Conference of the WTO, a proposal for the expansion of world trade in information technology products was adopted vide the "Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products" dated 13th December 1996. The declaration was adopted by 14 parties including the QUAD Countries (USA, Canada, Japan & EU), Singapore and Hong Kong representing about 80% of the trade in these products. The agreement became effective once the number of countries joining the agreement represent 90% of the trade in information technology products. Other WTO Members could opt to join the agreement as a participant.

The Information Technology Agreement (ITA), a plurilateral agreement within the WTO, aims to expand world trade in information technology products considering the key role this trade plays in development of information based industries and the dynamic expansion of the world economy while recognizing the goal of raising the standards of living and expanding the production of and trade in goods. ITA also desires to achieve maximum freedom of trade in information technology products and to encourage continued technological development of the information technology industry on the worldwide basis. The objective of the Agreement is to bring down tariffs on IT items in stages to zero level by a specified year. The concessions evolving out of the negotiations would be in addition to those already agreed upon under the GATT.

India joined the ITA on 25th March 1997. The main features of our schedule for ITA products are:-

India’s schedule for ITA products is available at the following address:

http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/inftec_e/indi-ab.pdf
http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/inftec_e/indi-r2m.pdf
http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/inftec_e/india-r2.pdf

2. ITA II

Keeping in view the importance of information technology in international trade, fourteen participants submitted proposals on expansion of trade in IT products (referred to as ITA-II). These proposals were discussed extensively in various meetings of the WTO during April-June 1998 and subsequently. The updated list of products proposed to be covered under ITA II includes a few consumer electronic items and certain security related products which is one of the main reasons why it has not been possible for the members of ITA to come to a consensus yet.

3. Issues to be considered

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