Global deal to eliminate tech product duty fast approaching

Summary:According to U.S. tech firms, a deal between nations worldwide to eliminate duty on new tech products is on the horizon.

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A deal between China, Europe, the U.S. and a dozen other countries to eliminate duties on technology products may be reached within the next two months.

U.S. technology groups, including the Information Technology Industry Council, told reporters at a press conference Thursday that they are "optimistic" about solidifying the deal by the end of July, according to Reuters.

Representatives from over a dozen countries in question -- including China and the U.S. -- as well as the European Union met with members of the World Trade Organization this week to discuss the potential agreement. The countries are attempting to negotiate an expansion of WTO's Information Technology Agreement, which eliminates tax duty on a number of products including telephones, software and PCs. However, considering the ever-increasing membership of the pact and the changing face of consumer technology, countries are seeking refinement and expansion to reflect current market trends.

U.S. Ambassador to the WTO Michael Punke said that he wants a "lot of progress" over the agreement's expansion in the coming months, and there is "no reason logistically why we couldn't wrap up the ITA discussion sooner rather than later."

The United States wants to include consumer products including speakers, headsets and flat screen displays, which are not covered by the original agreement.

However, the European Union -- which stipulates a 14 percent tariff on flat screen products -- has so far resisted the inclusion.

Approximately $4 trillion in trade is covered by the current deal, but it is estimated that an additional $800 billion would be covered if the pact's terms are altered to reflect current consumer demand and technological expansion.

Topics: Government : US, China, EU, Tech Industry

About

Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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