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Ambassador Sapiro Speaks on the Information Technology Agreement (ITA)

On Thursday, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro delivered the keynote address at an event hosted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). The event focused on the economic importance of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), and why its expansion will help fuel economic growth, drive innovation, and create jobs in the United States and globally. Former U.S. Trade Representatives, Ambassadors Susan Schwab and Charlene Barshefsky also spoke at the event.

A new report by ITIF found that expanding the ITA would increase U.S. exports of information and communication technology (ICT) products by $2.8 billion, support 60,000 new U.S. jobs and boost global GDP by $190 billion annually.

Ambassador Sapiro noted that “the Obama Administration is working hard to build support for expanding both ITA product coverage and membership.” She went on to say that “the time for ITA Participants to negotiate an expansion to the Agreement is right, but we have to frame the negotiations for success.”

The Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products, better known as the ITA, was concluded by 29 participants in December 1996, and entered into force in 1997. The agreement removed tariffs on eight categories of ICT products and has been a catalyst for expanding trade and investment in the global technology market. As a result, from 1996 to 2008, global trade in ICT products increased from $1.2 trillion to $4.0 trillion. Today, 73 WTO Members and States or separate customs territories are signatories of the ITA.