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U.S. and WTO Partners Begin Implementation of the Expansion of the Information Technology Agreement

July 01, 2016

Washington, D.C. – The expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) achieved a milestone today as the United States, along with developed and developing country partners at the World Trade Organization (WTO), began elimination of tariffs on hundreds of information technology goods traded all over the world.

The United States is a world leader in information technology.  Following the full implementation of ITA expansion, over $180 billion in annual American technology exports will no longer face burdensome tariffs in key markets around the globe, which will support tens of thousands of well-paying U.S. manufacturing and technology jobs.  In addition, duty-free trade in the products covered by ITA expansion will lower costs for downstream manufacturing and services industries that rely on information and communications technology parts and components as inputs, increasing their competitiveness.

ITA expansion will unlock global economic opportunities at home and abroad.  The WTO estimates that the ITA expansion will eliminate tariffs on approximately $1.3 trillion in annual global exports of information and communications technology products, which industry estimates will increase annual global gross domestic product by an estimated $190 billion.

“Today as we and other parties to the ITA expansion begin to eliminate hundreds of tariffs, U.S. exporters of state-of-the-art information and communication technology products will realize the benefits of expanding the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) on billions of dollars in American technology exports all around the globe,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.  “This demonstrates that the WTO can deliver real, commercially significant results. We urge all ITA expansion parties to proceed promptly with their domestic implementation.”

In December 2015, the United States along with over 50 developed and developing country partners reached agreement at the 10th WTO Ministerial in Nairobi, Kenya to begin the necessary steps to implement their tariff commitments on the ITA expansion list of 201 products by July 1, 2016, subject to the completion of domestic procedural requirements.

The original Information Technology Agreement concluded in 1996.  Despite the tremendous growth in global trade in technology products, which has nearly tripled to over $4 trillion annually, the scope of the ITA had never been updated.  To grow these benefits and capitalize on American technological advantages, President Obama engaged the United States in these negotiations to expand the ITA in 2012.  The ITA expansion agreement is the first major tariff-cutting deal at the World Trade Organization in 19 years.