World Trade Organization (WTO) Information Technology Agreement (ITA)
The original Information Technology Agreement (ITA) was reached on 13 December 1996, through a “Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products”, at the first WTO Ministerial Conference, held in Singapore.
The ITA covers a large number of high technology products, including computers, telecommunication equipment, semiconductors, semiconductor manufacturing and testing equipment, software, scientific instruments, as well as most of the parts and accessories of these products.
Subscribed initially by 29 members, participation quickly increased at the beginning of 1997 when a number of other members decided to join the Agreement. Today, following the recent accession of the Republic of Seychelles, the ITA now covers 81 WTO members, which account for approximately 97 per cent of world trade in information technology products.
The ITA requires each participant to eliminate and bind customs duties at zero for all products specified in the Agreement.
Because the ITA concessions are included in the participants' WTO schedules of concessions, the tariff elimination is implemented on a most-favoured nation (MFN) basis. This means that even countries that have not joined the ITA can benefit from the trade opportunities generated by ITA tariff elimination.