The NAM joined other major trade associations earlier this week to urge swift and ambitious expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), the most commercially successful trade agreements in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“The ITA has helped to drive innovation, accelerate productivity, increase employment, lower consumer prices, and bridge communities across the globe in ways unimagined 15 years ago,” the unified statement, released Monday, said. “This initiative would improve market access for information and communications technology (ICT) products around the world and make the newest technologies more affordable and available to everyone.”
The statement is backed by a coalition of 56 associations from around the world that represent every aspect of the highly innovative technology sector. The latest round of ITA expansion talks opened this week in Geneva, Switzerland. The full statement, with a list of signatories, is available online.
The ITA now has more than 70 signatories, and a report earlier this year by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) found that the ITA has had a significant impact on expanding trade and economic opportunity. From 1996 to 2008, total global trade in information and communications technology products increased more than 10 percent annually, from $1.2 trillion to $4.0 trillion. An expanded ITA could bring an additional $400 billion in high-tech trade under ITA coverage and increase world GDP by $190 billion, ITIF reported.
The leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) expressed support for ITA expansion during the 2012 APEC Ministerial Meeting earlier this month. In May, the WTO held an ITA symposium in Geneva to mark the agreement’s 15th anniversary and to chart a course toward expansion. That work continued this week in Geneva with technical discussions on an initial list of products to be considered for inclusion in the ITA.