The WTO Ministerial Conference in Kenya made progress on tariff elimination for 201 high-tech goods.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) has successfully completed the expansion of the Information Technology Agreement, which implies the elimination of tariffs for a list of 201 information technology products.
The negotiations culminated during the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, and the agreement affects products that imply a volume of international trade of US$1.2 trillion per year—a figure that represents nearly 10% of world trade in goods.
The elimination of tariffs affects products such as sophisticated electromedical devices, advanced machine tools and their components, state-of-the-art semiconductors, and numerous precision instruments. Some of these products did not even exist when the first agreement was adopted in 1996.
From July 1, 2016, tariffs will be eliminated on products that represent 88% of trade in the goods included in the agreement. By 2019 this percentage will have reached 95%, and from 2023 the entire tariff elimination process will be complete.
The expansion of the agreement has been negotiated by 53 WTO members: the 28 EU countries, the USA, Canada, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Israel, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Mauritius, Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Albania, and Montenegro.
These countries represent more than 90% of global trade flows in the goods included in the lists, although the agreement is open to new WTO members should any others wish to join it.