Economic Program | Digest

Q&A on the ITA: Five Questions on the Information Technology Agreement

by Ed Gerwin

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The Information Technology Agreement (ITA) is a 2G trade agreement in a 4G world.

In this digest, we answer five key questions about the ITA, why it needs to be modernized, and why it’s important for the United States and the world.

The ITA has driven global growth, development, prosperity, and innovation over the past 16 years by eliminating trade duties on important categories of information and communications products. But, as we note, the ITA’s list of tech products hasn’t been updated since 1997—a time when phones were dumb, computers were slow and expensive, and Google was a start-up. As a result, key technologies that link people and business in the modern economy—including smart TVs, Bluetooth devices, GPS systems, and a wide range of peripherals and software—still face high import duties in many countries.

The ITA needs an upgrade. Fortunately, trade negotiators have begun the task of updating the ITA so that its benefits can extend more fully to communities, companies, and citizens in the connected world of the 21st Century.

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