Tech Groups Welcome Duty-Free Trade Between U.S. and China
An agreement announced by the White House this week would slash tariffs on technology products. The plan still needs to be approved by a World Trade Organization working group, but meanwhile the tech industry is praising the breakthrough in U.S.-China trade relations.
Over the years the trade relationship between the United States and China has become more important than ever, especially in the tech sphere.
A proposed trade deal between the two superpowers, with the goal of cutting tariffs on tech products, could help boost that relationship. At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit on Tuesday, China and the U.S. reached a breakthrough on the World Trade Organization’s Information Technology Agreement (ITA), dramatically increasing the number of products covered by the agreement, which hasn’t changed since 1997 despite significant advances in technology. The countries have been working since 2012 to expand the pact.
“It was APEC’s work that led to the Information Technology Agreement, which we are now negotiating to expand,” President Barack Obama said during the meeting in Beijing this week, according to Time. “It is fitting that we are here with our APEC colleagues to share the news that the United States and China have reached an understanding that we hope will contribute to a rapid conclusion of the broader negotiations in Geneva.”
The deal, which must be approved by the 68 other members of the ITA, was welcomed by a wide variety of trade groups, both in the U.S. and abroad, including:
BSA/The Software Alliance CEO Victoria Espinel, a former intellectual property enforcement coordinator at the White House, told Reuters that “updating the ITA to better account for these advances will remove tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of additional goods.”
The Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA), which represents that country’s many tech manufacturers, told the Wall Street Journal that the move “would be positive for the JEITA and Japan’s IT and electronics industry.”
The Telecommunications Industry Association, whose members are communications-network manufacturers and suppliers, suggested that the agreement would emphasize the importance of the World Trade Organization “and the multilateral trading system that has been an important contributor to global economic growth through trade and investment liberalization.”
The Consumer Electronics Association’s vice president of international trade, Sage Chandler, told Politico: “We haven’t seen any real pushback on ITA anywhere because it will open up so much opportunity for U.S. companies.”