The WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which removes information and communication technology (ICT) tariffs, was long revalued last year, when 24 participants representing 53 WTO members said they were ready to almost double the products contained in the agreement. The Information Technology Agreement is a multi-lateral agreement to remove tariffs on certain information and communication technology (ICT) products. ITA covers a wide range of ICT products, including computers and computer devices, electronic components such as semiconductors, computer software, telecommunications equipment, semiconductor manufacturing equipment and computerized analysis tools. To date, 82 WTO members are members of it, representing 97% of the world`s trade in ICT products. Under the Information Technology Agreement, commonly known as ITA, participants removed all import duties on a wide range of computer products. Below is a list of current signatory countries, which account for about 95% of global trade in COMPUTER products, and a list of the few countries that have been allowed to delay their tariff reductions for a handful of products. Today, after the recent accession of the Republic of Seychelles, ITA now has 81 WTO members, representing about 97% of the world`s trade in computer products. The home page of the WTO Information Technology Agreement allows U.S. exporters of computer products to get more details about the agreement. Chart 5 Expansion of the ITA: tax applied on by-products covered by the agreement The wide range of computer products for which tariffs have been abolished under this agreement is indicated in Schedules A and B of the annex of the agreement. Recognizing the rapid advances in computer technology, the agreement calls for an annual product review to extend coverage to new products.
The WTO ITA Committee has also begun work on non-tariff measures for the sector. The agreement also provides for the obligation to remove non-tariff barriers in the information technology sector and to review the list of products covered to determine whether further enlargement may be necessary to take account of future technological developments. ItA covers a large number of high-tech products, including computers, telecommunications equipment, semiconductors, semiconductor manufacturing and control equipment, software, scientific instruments and most parts and accessories of these products. Under the agreement, most tariffs on the 201 products will be abolished within three years, with reductions starting in 2016.