20 Years of the Information Technology Agreement

Boosting Trade, Innovation and Digital Connectivity

image of 20 Years of the Information Technology Agreement

Over the past 20 years, the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) has increased worldwide access to high-tech goods, such as computers, mobile phones and semiconductors. It has also contributed to greater access to the Internet and the growth of the digital economy, creating new opportunities for businesses and individuals in both developed and developing economies. Finalized at the first WTO Ministerial Conference in 1996, the ITA commits its participants to eliminating tariffs on a wide range of IT products with an annual value of approximately US$ 1.7 trillion. To mark the 20th anniversary of the ITA, this publication analyses the impact of the ITA on its participants and on worldwide trade in IT products. It demonstrates how the Agreement has not only made high-tech products more affordable but has also helped to promote innovation and to support developing economies’ integration into global production networks. The publication also reviews new developments, such as the landmark deal concluded in 2015 to eliminate tariffs on an additional 201 IT products valued at over $1.3 trillion per year. Finally, it highlights what still needs to be done to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of providing universal and affordable access to the Internet so that the benefits of the digital revolution can be enjoyed by all.


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