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WTO Director-General cites progress in the information technology agreement

The Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products (ITA) was signed on 13 December 1996 in Singapore by 28 governments at the conclusion of the first WTO Ministerial Conference. It provides for the elimination of customs duties and other charges on information technology products through equal annual reductions beginning on 1 July 1997 and concluding on 1 January 2000. These tariff cuts are to be implemented by participants on an m.f.n. basis applicable to all WTO Members. T he implementation of the agreement is contingent on the signing on of other participants that would result in raising the agreement's coverage to approximately 90 per cent of world trade in IT products. The WTO Director-General, Mr. Renato Ruggiero, issued the following statement: "Although we do not yet have an agreement on the removal of tariffs for trade in Information Technology products, the results of the negotiations ... were certainly very encouraging. We now have commitments from countries representing more than 90% of the world market in IT products, putting us over the threshold that was set for an agreement..."
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Danica Yin Yan Cheung
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