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The Impact of ITA: the Progress of Today & the Promise of Tomorrow

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This past Saturday, the World Trade Organization (WTO) made significant progress toward expanding the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), an accord that has advanced innovation, trade and economic growth around the world for the past 18 years. In today’s rapidly evolving and technology-driven global economy, the expansion of the ITA is a welcome step to ensure IT products continue to be one of the drivers of worldwide growth.

First agreed to in 1996, the ITA eliminates tariffs on IT products integral to the growth of the global innovation economy such as computers, software, telecommunications equipment, scientific instruments and semiconductors to name a few.

The inclusion of next-generation semiconductors, known as MCOs (multi component semiconductors), within the ITA is particularly important to Intel, but equally as important is the potential for broader technological growth made possible by ITA expansion. In the past 18 years the global innovation ecosystem has evolved and produced groundbreaking technologies we never dreamed possible. Intel is proud to power these amazing innovations now and for decades to come.

We need not look too far back to realize the strides made in providing greater information access. For instance, in 1998, less than 0.1 percent households had a broadband connection worldwide. And now, over 40 percent of homes across the globe have high-speed Internet. Technology included in the expanded ITA empowers us to address some of our most pressing social and environmental challenges of the day; through the development of renewable energy sources, improved healthcare, and increased access to higher education.

Yet as we enjoy the benefits of these years of innovation, there is still more work to be done. We therefore urge parties to agree and submit their acceptance of the product coverage list by Friday, July 24. Following the product list acceptance, we recommend the duty free staging mechanism covering the approx. 200 IT products of the expanded ITA to be concluded swiftly and expeditiously to capture the most cutting-edge technology and for all of us to realize the benefits of this expanded agreement.

With this in mind, Intel applauds the ingenuity of negotiators in bringing a diverse group of stakeholders together and for their foresight to include a review of the ITA in 2018

We look forward to the agreement and the opportunity to refresh and expand it to match the technology landscape of today.