WTO reach landmark $1.3 trillion IT trade deal

Geneva, July 25 (IANS) The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has struck a deal where over 200 information technology products would be freed from import tariffs, a media report said on Saturday.

Valued at $1.3 trillion in annual trade, the products include new generation semi-conductors, GPS navigation, medical equipment, as well as machine tools for manufacturing printed circuits, telecommunications satellites and touch screens, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The list is closed and that is the major conclusion of today’s (Friday) work,” WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo said referring to the list of 201 new products on which tariff barriers will be eliminated.

“Eliminating tariffs on trade of this magnitude will have a huge impact. It will support lower prices, including in many other sectors that use IT products as inputs, it will create jobs and it will help to boost GDP growth around the world,” Azevedo said.

WTO indicated that under the terms of agreement, the majority of tariffs on the products will be lifted within three years, with reductions starting as soon as 2016.

This agreement builds on an initial accord reached by 54 WTO members on July 18, which will be used as a basis for implementation work to begin.

WTO indicated that the terms of the agreement will be formally circulated to the full membership on July 28.

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