On July 24, the participants of the WTO’s negotiation on expanding products range of the Information Technology Agreement (hereinafter referred to as the expanding negotiation) announced that the agreement on product range had been reached in Geneva.
There are 201 kinds of products newly added in the agreement on the basis of the product range of the Information Technology Agreement in 1996, including the products representing the highest level of science and technology at present, such as information and communication technology products, semiconductor and its production equipments, audio-video products, medical facilities and instruments and meters. According to the statistics of WTO, the trade volume of those products in the world has reached US$ 1.3 trillion, accounting for 7% of the total international trade. The tariff of the related products will be reduced to zero after a period of tax reduction, and will be implemented to all WTO members on the basis of the most-favored-nation treatment.
Next, the participants of the expanding negotiation will negotiate on the tax reduction period. The participants will submit the schedule of tariff concessions including the tax reduction period before October 30, and will complete the multilateral review on tariff reduction schedule, aiming to close the whole expanding negotiation before the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference which will be held in Nairobi, Kenya in December this year. It is planned to implement the tax reduction for the first time on July 1, 2016.
It would be the only one negotiation on market access completed by WTO in recent years, if the expanding negotiation were to be closed as scheduled. The results of the negotiation will further promote the growth of the international trade and economy, and will inject vitality to the multilateral trade negotiation.
Among the 25 participants of the expanding negotiation, 21 participants including China, the U.S., the EU, Japan and South Korea confirmed to accept the product range reached by the agreement at the meeting on July 24. Four participants including Chinese Taipei, Turkey, Colombia and Mauritius said that they would confirm it as soon as possible.