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ICT INDUSTRY CALLS FOR ITA EXPANSION TO SPUR GLOBAL ECONOMY

Date

29 Feb 2012

Sections

InfoSociety

Brussels Wednesday, 29 February 2011 – On the eve of the 15th anniversary of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) entering into effect, the global ICT industry has sparked a call for an expansion of the outdated ITA to make it more reflective of 21st Century global trade in digital goods.

As the World Trade Organisation (WTO) gets set to host the ITA Committee Symposium on 14-15 May 2012 in Geneva, DIGITALEUROPE - whose members count more than sixty of the world’s most influential ICT companies - identified this as the perfect opportunity to initiate negotiations on ITA expansion.

John Higgins CBE, Director General of DIGITALEUROPE, points to consensus from global ICT players as paving the way for modernising the ITA: “The global digital technology industry has hammered together a common position on how to expand the existing ITA. DIGITALEUROPE seeks an Agreement that reflects the diversity of modern-day digital products, which are evolving at a pace unparalleled in any other sector of the economy.”

According to the WTO, world 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’s exports.  Positive rippling effects of an expanded ITA will be felt from Europe to the United States, from China to emerging markets, and will deliver a positive socio-economic benefit to consumers. 

John Higgins points to the win-win benefits to be enjoyed by signatories and citizens: “We want more countries to take advantage of the opportunities that an expanded ITA can bring, such as: competitive prices, productivity, growth and employment generation. These are the net benefits that we can all enjoy through increasing trade in digital products globally.”

The global ICT industry is committed to stimulating the world economy. Higgins highlights that the time has come for the ITA to be expanded: “The ITA must keep pace with technological change and help eliminate uncertainties that arise as convergence and innovation in the ICT industry continue to advance.”

A statement released by DIGITALEUROPE points to spurring global innovation and growth through expanding the ITA. DIGITALEUROPE calls on all non-signatories to engage, urging countries not to impeach citizens from accessing opportunities that modern communications technology can offer.  “Citizens in all countries should be able to benefit from the advantages of lower prices, competiveness and the latest technology innovations. Societies across the globe will be the recipients of better knowledge, information and technological innovation,” stresses Higgins.

DIGITALEUROPE’s statement refers to serious roadblocks thrown down by non-tariff barriers (NTBs), pointing out that trade in ICT products globally is negatively impacted by NTBs. Advocating the need for ITA signatories to undertake consultations as set out in the existing ITA, the statement said that starting consultations represents a concrete step forward in the promotion of global market access for ICT products that will kick -start the European and global economy. DIGITALEUROPE also encourages the signatories to seek other ways to remove NTBs.


Ends.


Natalia Kurop

DIGITALEUROPE >> Rue de la Science, 14 >> B-1040 Brussels

F. +32 2 609 5339 >> M. +32 487 340 571

http://www.digitaleurope.org

ABOUT DIGITALEUROPE

DIGITALEUROPE (www.digitaleurope.org), is the voice of the European digital technology industry. Our membership includes large and small companies in the Information and Communications Technology and Consumer Electronics Industry sectors. DIGITALEUROPE membership is composed of 61 major multinational companies and 41 national associations from 29 European countries. In all, DIGITALEUROPE represents more than 10,000 companies all over Europe with more than 2 million employees and over EUR 1,000 billion in revenues.

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