US targeting fast expansion of tech trade pact

Top American official looking to quickly expand landmark trade agreement to include more tech products, which could benefit many Asian developing countries, according to report.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

The United States is optimistic that countries currently part of the Information Technology Agreement will agree to expand the deal to include more products, according to Reuters. A wider deal will include more products and benefit many Asian countries, it noted.

In a report Thursday, the newswire said that a top U.S. official had expressed her interest to complete the expansion as soon as possible.

It cited Miriam Sapiro, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro, who in an interview said: "We want to do this as quickly as possible. We want to frame this for success."

"Because it's been so successful, we want to make it even more successful," Sapiro added, noting that an expansion would also help many developing countries currently part of the pact--including India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Egypt. Sapiro has been consulting with other WTO members on the scope of the proposed expansion, according to Reuters.

The Information Technology Agreement eliminates tariifs on eight categories of information and communications technology products. The pact was signed in 1996 by the U.S. and 28 other countries. Reuters noted that it now includes 73 countries but still covers the same products as the day it was signed. The newswire pointed out that this left out hundreds of goods created over the last 15 years, such as GPS systems, flat panel displays and video game consoles.

Over the past 15 years, it is estimated that the pact has helped triple world trade in semiconductors, computers and other technology products to US$4 trillion.



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