DFAT calls on Aussie IT exporters for WTO IT agreement

The World Trade Organisation is in discussions to expand the 1996 IT Agreement, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is calling on Australian IT exporters to make their views known.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor on

The World Trade Organisation is currently in discussions to significantly expand the World Trade Organisation Technology Agreement of 1996 to include many more IT products, and the Australian government is seeking the views of Australian IT exporters on the expanded agreement.

The United States flagged in May 2012 that the existing agreement, which covers 74 states or members of the WTO, was in need of expansion because many of the IT products and companies in existence today are not currently covered by the agreement, which was originally put in place in 1996.

The agreement is a method of cutting trade tariffs on the products covered on the agreement. The members must cut tariffs on all products on the list to zero, and all other duties and charges must also be at zero.

Talks have been ongoing since May last year, and as of November 2012, 17 members of the WTO, including Australia, were involved in negotiations for an expanded agreement.

The Australian government on Tuesday indicated that the agreement had so far helped to propel economic growth in Australia, and said that an expanded list of products to be included on the agreement is due to be finalised by July 2013.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has called on IT exporters to comment on the impact the expanded agreement might have before July, via email.

The department is also heavily involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations. It has sought to negotiate guarantees over IT pricing in Australia and the practice of geo-blocking with the other countries involved in the agreement.

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