World Trade Organization members have finalized a deal to cut tariffs on a wide range of information technology products. Economists said the impact of the accord would be huge, given the sector’s economic clout.
WTO member states on Friday agreed to abolish duties on more than 200 additional technology products, ranging from advanced computer chips to GPS devices, printer cartridges and video game consoles.
The accord marked the organization’s first tariff-reducing deal in almost two decades and came as an expansion of the 1997 Information Technology Agreement, which included 80 WTO members.
Officials said the updated accord covered products generating $1 trillion (911 billion euros) in annual global revenues, equal to the trade in iron, steel, textiles and clothing combined, the WTO stated.
Although not all 161 member countries chose to sign the deal, it will benefit all nations as it eliminates the tariffs on products no matter which WTO country they come from.
“The deal will open markets, create jobs and spur economic growth around the world, as well as bring down costs for consumers,” said the president of the Information Technology Industry Council trade group in Washington, Dean Garfield.
Negotiators will still have to sort out some technical details until December when WTO members are due to meet in Nairobi, Kenya.