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Press release from Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Updated Information Technology Agreement gives cheaper electronic products

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The negotiations on an updated Information Technology Agreement (ITA) have now been concluded between 53 WTO members, including the EU and Sweden. The agreement will mean duty-free access to an additional 201 technology products and so covers 10 per cent of the value of total world trade – more than global trade in agricultural products.

"This is a major and long-awaited agreement, not least for Swedish consumers who will have access to cheaper electronic products in the future. An updated ITA is also important for Swedish exports and Swedish electronics companies such as Ericsson," says Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg.

The first version of the ITA was concluded in 1996 between WTO members who had a common interest in eliminating import duties on technology products. The agreement covered products such as computers, semiconductors and telecommunication equipment. It had a major impact on world trade and contributed to our transition to an information society. However, the agreement itself became out-dated as a result of the technological developments. Therefore, during the Swedish Presidency of the EU in 2009, the EU decided to modernise the ITA. The negotiations were launched in Geneva in 2012. The update includes 201 new products, which are estimated at an export value of EUR 82 billion for the EU alone.

"Sweden has been pushing for an update of the agreement and stands to be one of those who gains the most. More than 80 per cent of our prioritised information technology products have been included. The agreement strengthens our competitiveness; the products covered by the ITA expansion represent 6.8 per cent of Sweden's total exports of goods in 2014 to countries outside the EU. This is an achievement that will have a clear impact on our companies," says Mr Damberg.

Contact

Ann Wolgers
Press Secretary to Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg
Phone (switchboard) +46 8 405 10 00