Multilateral/Plurilateral Agreements:

 

Innovation lead to outstanding technologies that enable new services for the users that can be used around the world. By removing tariffs and reducing non-trade barriers, multilateral agreements create new opportunities for growth in digital products and services trade, and then ensure that these high quality products and services will be available for customers around the world at the lowest price. 
 

Information Technology Agreement (ITA) 

Since the signing of the ITA in 1996, global industry regards the ITA as one of the most commercially succesful WTO trade pacts, contributing enormously to promoting jobs, increasing competitiveness, lowering consumer princes, boosting economic growth, and foster innovation around the world. Global exports of ITA products have more than doubled, from $600 billion in 1996 to more than $1,5 trillion in 2008, accounting for one fifth of the world exports. 

Negotiations for the expansion of the agreement begun in 2012, seeking to add IT products that did not exist in 1996, such as advanced semiconductor products, and a range of electrical components and modern batteries. Expansion of the ITA would slash tariffs on 250 IT products worth around $1 trillion in annual global sales. 

The ITA expansion talks were suspended in Geneva on November 21 2013 when all the negotiating parties could not agree on a final list of products to be included in an expanded agreement and despite tremendous progress over the past year by nearly all parties in the negotiation to achieve an ambitious outcome. 

DIGITALEUROPE has three key priorities for ITA reform : 
- quickly finalise an expansion of the agreement adding new products to keep pace with technological change, 
- encourage more governments to become signatories, and
- seek appropriate ways to remove non-tariff barriers. 

Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)

As the world’s largest exporter of services, the EU has much to gain from a strong agreement focused on this critical sector of the economy. However, the EU also has much to lose – from the rising threat of « digital protectionism » - if the TiSA does not establish rules to enable the global digital economy. 

The same technologies that have created opportunities for growth in services trade also present the risk of new trade barriers in the form of restrictions on cross-border data flows or requirements to process and store data locally. 

The TiSA provides a timely opportunity to address this threat to the European services sector.

 

For more information contact:

Diane Mievis,
Policy Director
diane.mievis@digitaleurope.org