During the WTO Uruguay Round negotiations, the United States and several other major trading partners agreed to reciprocal tariff elimination, a "zero-for-zero initiative," for pharmaceutical products and for chemical intermediates used in the production of pharmaceuticals.

Pharmaceutical-producing countries that accounted for approximately 90 percent of global production of the subject pharmaceutical chemicals at that time joined the Agreement.

Signatories to the WTO Pharmaceutical Agreement are Canada, the European Union and its 28 Member States, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, the United States, and Macao (China).

Members of the pharmaceutical initiative have agreed to periodically update the list of items eligible for duty elimination as new pharmaceutical products and chemical intermediates are developed. Updates to the initial agreement have occurred in 1996, 1998, 2006, and 2010.

The last update, which became effective January 1, 2011, added 735 new items to the list of pharmaceutical products eligible for duty-free treatment. The original Agreement and the subsequent updates include more than 10,000 products.

Related documents:

Pharmaceutical Appendix to the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule
Plurilateral Sectoral Negotiations During the Uruguay Round

Other Pharmaceutical Agreements:

Agreement on Mutual Recognition between the European Community and the United States of America, amending the Sectoral Annex for Pharmaceutical Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs)