China, US reach consensus on resuming ITA talks

Updated: 2014-11-12 18:37


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BEIJING - China and the United States has reached consensus on resuming negotiations on updating the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Information Technology Agreement (ITA) by including more products, the Ministry of Commerce said Wednesday.

The two sides will work with other participants of the ITA to put an end to negotiations as soon as possible, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

ITA expansion has a significant commercial value, as consensus had been made on tariff exemptions for about 200 items before the US dropped out of the negotiations a year ago.

"The slashing of tariffs for those products will strongly promote global trade growth and the development of the information technology sector," the ministry said.

If an agreement on updating the ITA can be agreed upon it will become the first agreement on tariff cuts since the establishment of the WTO, and would boost confidence in the WTO's function in the area of multilateral negotiations, according to the statement.

The ministry said the consensus were reached after Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday met with his US counterpart Barack Obama, who arrived in Beijing Monday to attend the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting and to pay a state visit to China at Xi's invitation.

Leaders from the APEC economies have also stressed the importance of advancing regional economic integration and pursuing free and open trade and investment, according to a joint statement issued Tuesday after its annual meeting.

"We underscored the importance of negotiations to expand the product coverage of the ITA," the statement on the 25th anniversary of APEC showed.

A final ITA expansion outcome should be commercially significant, credible, pragmatic, balanced and reflective of the dynamic technological developments in the information technology sector over the last 17 years, and would contribute to the multilateral trading system, it said.

"We welcome APEC's leadership in advancing the negotiations and call for swift resumption and conclusion of plurilateral negotiations in Geneva," the statement added.