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IRIS 1997-2:3/1

Information Technology Agreement: The latest state of affairs

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Ad van Loon

European Audiovisual Observatory

In IRIS 1997-1:3 we reported on a framework Information Technology Agreement (ITA) which had been negotiated in December 1996 during a ministerial conference in Singapore. The ITA comncerns the abolition by the year 2000 of customs duties on products related to information technology.

On 31 January, a meeting took place in Geneva, under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation to assess the progress that had been made since December.

As EUROPE reports, almost thirty countries representing around 83% of world trade in IT products, had agreed on the essebtial temrs of the ITA. therefore, it seems that the pre-condition for the ITA to be concluded (that the parties to the agreement represent together around 90% of world trade before 15 March 1996) may be met. Currently, parties are trying to convince Malaysia (which represents 5% of the IT market), Thailand (2%), India and Mexico to join the ITA.

Information Technology Agreement. EUROPE Ns 6908 (n.s.) of 6 February 1997.