July 20, 2015
A key issue holding up progress on the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Information Technology Agreement (ITA) was resolved over the weekend, creating a path towards conclusion of the ITA negotiations, according to media reports. Negotiators from ITA member countries met in Geneva last week to seek resolution on a disagreement between South Korea and China regarding tariffs on liquid-crystal display (LCDs)—an issue that had held up ITA negotiations since December 2014. A final agreement among the 54 ITA members would remove tariffs on around 200 information technology goods.
Trade press reported that South Korea relinquished its earlier demands that tariffs be removed from LCDs, partially in exchange for changes in tariff treatment on certain medical devices.
The WTO reported the list of goods and a draft declaration (a document that describes how implementation will occur) were distributed among the members’ capitals for final consideration. Negotiating parties still need to determine technical details, including timetables for tariff removal. Countries are aiming to finalize details by the WTO ministerial meeting in Nairobi in December.