WTO cuts tariffs on $1tn worth of 'IT' gizmos

Global org's IT Agreement gets zero-tariff and duty-free updates

Wealth is now available to all in IT, following the World Trade Organisation's members agreeing to update the Information Technology Agreement, cutting tariffs on $1tn worth of IT products.

Finalised on Friday, the members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have agreed that tariffs ought to be cut on IT products, from new generation semi-conductors and GPS navigation equipment through to MRI machines.

The Information Technology Agreement (ITA) is solely a tariff cutting mechanism, which was finalised in 1997 and covers 80 WTO members.

Participants in the ITA account for almost 97 per cent of the world trade in IT products.

Efforts to expand the agreement's coverage were launched in 2012, and concluded this morning, with roughly 200 products being added to the list of zero-tariff and duty-free items for trade.

"This is a big deal," said WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo.

"The trade covered in this agreement is comparable to annual global trade in iron, steel, textiles and clothing combined. By taking this step, WTO members will help to provide a jump-start to the global economy and underline the WTO's role as the central global forum for trade negotiations." ®

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