MEPs agree on the expansion of trade in IT products

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The European Parliament in Strasbourg on June 8 gave its consent to the upgraded Information Technology Agreement (ITA), an expanded WTO agreement, which will eliminate import duties on 201 additional high‐tech products, such as GPS navigation systems, medical equipment, video games, touch screens and semi-conductors.

All 162 WTO members will benefit from duty-free access in each of the participants’ markets.

MEP Joachim Starbatty, who is also an economics professor and the shadow rapporteur of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR), welcomed the landslide approval.

“From now on, the agreement will remain up to date and in line with the latest developments in the sector,” he said. “Modern information technology and the so-called Industry 4.0 will be important driving forces of future economic growth and demand a comprehensive trade framework. Small and medium-sized enterprises represent an important share of the sector and will benefit, too.”

The extension of the ITA agreement is considered to be of great economic significance. According to figures of the World Trade Organization, the products covered by the agreement amount to about 7% of world trade, or €1.1 trillion.

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