New Zealand to cash in on the new World Trade Organisation Information Technology Agreement (ITA)

Tariffs to Be Eliminated from ICT Products

New Zealand to cash in on the new World Trade Organisation Information Technology Agreement (ITA)

Under the expanded ITA, member states would eliminate all tariffs on the products imported from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) members within seven years. The elimination will begin next July and tariffs for most products are expected to be eliminated within the next 3 years.

New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay hailed the successful conclusion of negotiations on the expansion of  WTO ITA held in Nairobi, Kenya.

“This is a real milestone, and I am proud that New Zealand has played its part in getting these difficult negotiations across the line.  The WTO estimates that the value of global trade covered in the expanded ITA is NZD 1.9 trillion annually’’ he said

New Zealand’s exports for ICT products accounts for NZ$1 billion annually. With the new agreement, will eliminate tariffs on over 200 of these products. These products are essential to New Zealanders as Minister McClay describes them to be ’’ products that New Zealanders use in different ways every day’’. They include new-generation semiconductors, GPS navigation systems, MRI machines, telecommunications satellites and touch screens.

Mr Clay regards this agreement as a significant economical breakthrough and lauded the positive financial impact the WTO can bring.

"It is also an important outcome for the WTO. It's the first major tariff-elimination deal at the WTO in the past 19 years. This announcement shows that the WTO can deliver relevant, real, and commercially meaningful results," said McClay.

The original ITA dates back to 1996, and has been expanded to account for the rapidly evolving technologies in the ICT sector. Since 1997 a formal Committee under the WTO watches over the following of the Declaration and its Implementations. Its aim is to be to lower all taxes and tariffs on information technology products by signatories to zero.

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