WTO to eliminate custom taxes on ICT products. The tariffs will be reduced in goods such as medical equipment i.e scanners, home hi-fi systems, headphones, DVR players, semi-conductors and GPS devices. In addition, electronics such as TV-cameras, video recording, digital car radios and set-top boxes for digital TV reception, according to Business Daily.
“For every product on the list, ITA participants have negotiated the level of reductions and over how many years it will fully eliminate the tariffs. As a result of these negotiations, approximately 65 per cent of tariff lines will be fully eliminated by 1 July 2016,” WTO said.
“Most of the remaining tariff lines will be completely phased out in four stages over three years. This means that by 2019 almost all imports of the relevant products will be duty free.”
“This agreement is the first major tariff-cutting deal at the WTO since 1996 — and it comes fast on the heels of the historic Bali Package. We now have two deals in two years which deliver real, economically significant results,” said the WTO director-general.
The deal was sealed between WTO member states to merit the growth of technology. “I am delighted to mark this breakthrough here today at the Ministerial Conference”, WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo said.
“Eliminating tariffs on trade of this magnitude will have a huge impact. It will support lower prices including in many other sectors that use IT products as inputs — it will create jobs and it will help to boost GDP growth around the world.”
A good number of countries were involved in the Information Technology Agreement negotiations. Fortunately, about 201 products will be duty free from July 2016. “This is a very significant achievement. Annual trade in these 201 products is valued at Sh132.8 trillion per year, and accounts for approximately 10 per cent of total global trade,” said the WTO director-general.
From the deal, countries that agreed on to sign, they will eliminate custom taxes on goods such as computers, semiconductors, telecommunication instruments, data storage media and software. Currently, 74 member states have already signed and Kenya is still weighing. Foreign Affairs and International Trade secretary Amina Mohamed said “we are looking at it very closely but we haven’t decided yet.”
Other organizations think the deal is a bad idea since it will lead to a decline in employment in African countries because machines will do all the work.
In Agriculture, African countries will benefit since the US and EU promised to open their market and offer grants. “A lot of work is going on in many areas of global trade, including agriculture. The negotiations are challenging but we are all here to ensure that the Nairobi forum succeeds,” Mr Froman said. “Whatever comes out of Nairobi, development and Doha issues will remain as important as always.”