Analytical Note, September 2013

The Information Technology Agreement (ITA); Considerations from a Development Perspective

This note discusses the contents of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), including the scheduling approach under the ITA, the experiences of ITA members thus far, and the propositions for expansion of the ITA product coverage.

The review indicates that:

  • Many of the developing country members had joined the agreement pre-maturely without enough capacity to take part in the export markets. As a result, several have witnessed exponential increases in their trade deficit in ITA products since their membership in the ITA Agreement.
  • For several developing countries members of the ITA, an adjustment of their current commitments would be necessary in the course of an ITA review process if they want to build (or rebuild) their domestic IT industry.
  • Any review of the product coverage of the ITA is pre-conditioned on the consensus among all the ITA members.
  • ITA Members have a core interest in seeking to establish special and differential treatment rules under the ITA that reflect the consensus among WTO member in regard to establishing more effective SDT under the Doha Round, and integrating the principle of ‘less than full reciprocity’ into the ITA.

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