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METI Announces the Conclusion of the WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA) Expansion Negotiations

On December 16, 2015, at the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC10) held in Nairobi, Kenya, Mr. Motoo Hayashi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, announced the conclusion of negotiations on behalf of the 53 members participating in the WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA) expansion negotiations.
Japan, as a chair country of the ITA expansion negotiations, intensively took the lead in the discussions on tariff elimination periods after the product agreement was reached in July 2015, and the agreement was concluded on December 16, 2015.

1. Conclusion of ITA Expansion Negotiations

On December 16, 2015, at the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC10) held in Nairobi, Kenya, Mr. Motoo Hayashi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, announced the conclusion of negotiations on behalf of the 53 members participating in the WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA) expansion negotiations.

Japan, as a chair country of the ITA expansion negotiations, intensively took the lead in the discussions on tariff elimination periods for each product after the completion of the July 2015 agreement on 201 IT-related products for which additional tariff eliminations apply, and the final agreement was concluded on December 16, 2015.

2. Outcome of This Agreement

The value of world trade from the 201 products to which the tariff elimination newly applies has reached approximately 1.3 trillion dollars per a year, which corresponds to about 10 percent of the total value of world trade. This number significantly exceeds the proportion of the value of world trade represented by automotive products, which is approximately 4.8 percent. Also, the total value of trade over the 201 products in the ITA expansion undertaken by these 53 countries participating in the negotiations represents approximately 90% of trade value worldwide in these 201 products. In addition, the value of global Japanese exports of the 201 products has reached about 9 trillion yen. It is expected that the tariff reduction will be amount to approximately 170 billion yen if the tariffs imposed by participating members are eliminated based on this agreement.

The tariff elimination is to start on a progressive basis from July 1, 2016, and the tariffs on over 90 percent of the products for all 53 members are to be eliminated on a total tariff line basis within three years. Finally, in January 2024, the tariffs on the 201 products will be completely eliminated, for all 53 members.

The conclusion of the ITA expansion negotiations is the first conclusion of large-scale tariff elimination negotiations in the 21st century. This elimination of tariffs will advance the dissemination of innovative information technology throughout society as a whole, and it will significantly contribute to the improvement of the quality of life and the advancement of economic activities. At the same time, the global value chain for the IT industry will become richer, and it will lead to the promotion of innovation and the creation of new businesses.

The participants plan to encourage other WTO members to share our common vision that trade liberalization of IT-related products will pave the way for people worldwide to benefit from information technology and will decide to join the ITA expansion.

Reference 1: WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA)

The Ministerial Declaration on the elimination of tariffs on trade in information technology products (computers, calculating machines, telephones, facsimile machines, optical disc storage units, monitors, etc. (144 products in total, based on HS6 codes)), which was agreed upon by 29 members (Japan, the U.S., the EU (at that time, 15 countries), Canada, the Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, etc.) at the Singapore Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December 1996 whose official title was the “Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products.” entered into force in 1997. With the addition of countries such as China Russia and India, a total of 82 members have joined in the original ITA.

Reference 2: Members participating in the ITA expansion negotiations (53 members)

Japan, United States of America, EU (28 countries), Chinese Taipei, Republic of Korea, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Australia, Canada, Thailand, Norway, China, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines, New Zealand, Israel, Mauritius, Montenegro, Guatemala, Iceland, Albania, Colombia

Reference 3: ITA expansion product list

201 products in total including digital AV devices, digital multifunction machines and printers, semi-conductor manufacturing equipment , new-type semiconductors (semiconductor products which are a combination of multiple integrated circuits (ICs) integrated into one package), communication devices, and medical devices

Release date

December 17, 2015

Division in charge

Multilateral Trade System Department, Trade Policy Bureau
Tariff and Market Access Negotiations

Related Information

WTO

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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