US, China, ink tariff-free technology trade pact

Vendorland hopes other parties to WTO Information Technology Agreement will follow suit

The United States of America and the People's Republic of China have agreed to abolish tariffs on each other's technology products.

Announced at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit in Beijing on Monday, the deal won't immediately mean unfettered access for US and Chinese companies, because the agreement was struck under the World Trade Organisation's Information Technology Agreement (ITA) that calls for tariffs on all IT products to be abolished.

The Agreement's been on the books since 1997 without ever being signed off by the 80 nations negotiating it, but that changed at the APEC leaders' summit on Monday when China and the USA reached their agreement. The combined influence of the two nations prompted WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo to hail a “breakthrough” in negotiations that could mean savings of over a trillion dollars.

US president Barack Obama says adopting ITA and killing tariffs could “Increase annual global GDP by an estimated US$190 billion” and mean lots more American jobs.

Vendorland is also keen on the deal. Intel has declared it “ a major win for the global information economy and ICT consumers around the world”. Cisco says it will “... help expand access to affordable technology, which will help improve standards of living and economic development around the world.”

The caveat is that the deal still has to be signed off by the other nations negotiating ITA. The USA and China are both colossal importers and exporters of technology, so hopes are high that their collective weight will see other nations dot the i's, cross the t's and allow global get on with tariff-free global technology trade at WTO meetings in the near future. ®

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