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Press Release with the Ministry of Foreign AffairsJapan and WTO Members Approved Information Technology Agreement (ITA) Expansion Products List

On July 24, 2015, in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Trade Organization (WTO) members participating in the negotiations on the ITA expansion agreed on the expansion products list.
Japan will continue to make all efforts towards concluding the ITA expansion to be able to report its conclusion as a specific deliverable at the WTO’s 10th Ministerial Conference (MC10) in December 2015.

1. Background and content of the basic agreement

Japan led the negotiations on the WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA) expansion in cooperation with the U.S. and other countries, and has been actively engaged towards an early agreement since the negotiations started in May 2012. WTO members that were participating in the ITA expansion negotiations agreed to eliminate tariffs on a total of 201 IT products: digital AV devices; digital multifunction machines and printers; machines and apparatus for the manufacture of semiconductors; new type semiconductors; communication devices; medical devices etc., [Note: A limited group of countries is expected to confirm participation in the coming days.]

2. Significance and effects of the agreement

This agreement is a major step forward the first large-scale tariff-cutting deal in which major trading partners of both developed and developing countries will participate in the 21st century.

The value of Japanese exports of the 201 items agreed upon this time amounts to nine trillion yen. If tariffs in the countries and regions that are participating in this negotiation are terminated through the completion of the ITA expansion, we can expect a significant effect on the expansion of Japan’s trade.

3. Future schedule

On the basis of the agreement, the participating members will proceed with negotiations on tariff elimination periods for each of the products in each country or region in order to report the conclusion of the negotiations on the ITA expansion as deliverable at the WTO’s 10th Ministerial Conference (MC10) in December 2015.

(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 countries and regions (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. The official title was the “Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products.” It entered into force in 1997. To date, 79 countries and regions join in ITA expansion negotiations, by increasing members, such as China, India, and Russia etc.

(Reference 2) Members who participate in the ITA expansion negotiations (53 countries and regions)
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, Turkey, Guatemala, Iceland, Albania, Colombia

Release date

July 27, 2015

Division in Charge

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

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