Egads, a WTO Deal...on Expanding IT Goods

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 7/20/2015 01:30:00 AM
Coming soon to your country: duty-free PlayStations.
OK, so it isn't the completion of the Doha Round (in progress from 2001 to, well, never evermore it seems). I suppose that it's still an achievement that the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) has been moved expanded to include more kinds of electronics--including game consoles [!]--and more tariff reductions. In this day and age where skepticism about the benefits of trade are evident around the world, any sort of multilateral deal is worth mentioning:
Trade negotiators on Saturday tentatively agreed to eliminate tariffs on an array of technology products valued at US$1 trillion worth of global commerce. The breakthrough toward the WTO’s Information Technology Agreement (ITA) took place at an ambassadors’ meeting at the EU embassy in Geneva.

“Very optimistic that we’ll have a final successful deal by the end of next week,” WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said on Twitter. “We have the basis for an agreement.”

US Trade Representative Michael Froman hailed a “major breakthrough” in what would be the first significant tariff-cutting deal at the WTO in 18 years. “This will open overseas markets for some of America’s most competitive companies and workers,” he said in an e-mailed statement. “We are confident that all parties will now give formal approval to their participation.”
And of course, what would this news be without mentioning cutting tariffs on game consoles to zero along with optimistic trade creation figures being bandied about:
Tariffs on semiconductors, magnetic resonance imaging machines, global positioning system devices, printer ink cartridges, video game consoles and other products would be cut to zero under the deal, according to the US Trade Representative office.

The expanded product list will now undergo consideration from trade ministers at their various capitals. “We have the basis for an understanding,” Azevedo told reporters in Geneva after the meeting. “The list is out, members are going to consult their capitals, and we will know by Friday whether we have final approval on the list of products and the declaration itself.”

The product list could pave the way for a finalized deal that would contribute as much as $US190 billion to global GDP and support 60,000 US jobs...The 80 WTO countries that participate in the ITA talks account for about 97 percent of global trade in IT products.
Hope springs eternal for the WTO.