SEMI has praised a plan to expand the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) and begin negotiations to finalize the deal. Following a multiyear effort on behalf of global information and communication technology industries, a meaningful agreement now appears within reach, the organization said.
SEMI (www.semi.org) worked with a host of industry and government officials in an effort to expand the original agreement, which first created free trade among tech products in 1996. This new deal stands to modernize and broaden an accord that now accounts for 97 percent of global trade for tech. ITA expansion will greatly improve the way many leading semiconductor equipment manufacturing (SEM) companies do business.
Trade negotiators from more than 50 countries came to a consensus on an array of products that includes machines and apparatus to manufacture boules, wafers, semiconductor devices and flat panel displays among other products of interest to SEMI members. Pending domestic reviews, the international agreement is expected to be ratified by the end of the year with tariff elimination slated to begin July 2016.
Trade continues to be a controversial topic in high-tech as the Obama administration has sought to build higher walls around fewer products as a way to protect U.S. technology. A recent case involving a New Jersey man, however, illustrates the extent to which some organization will go to obtain U.S. technology. Yet the high-tech industry has benefited from trade agreements and the export of high-tech equipment is a driver for continued growth of the industry.
“Today’s approval of a final ITA product list is a significant victory for the industry,” said SEMI CEO Denny McGuirk. “High-tech manufacturers have long sought to liberalize trade for innovative products and an expanded ITA will go a long way to alleviate global barriers. We commend the work of the trade ministers and WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo for their persistent work on this important initiative.”
Following today’s agreement-in-principle, negotiators will resume consultations aimed at finalizing the deal — estimated to be worth $1 trillion in annual global trade. SEMI will continue to work closely with negotiators throughout the process to ensure an effective outcome for the SEM industries.
SEMI is the global industry association serving the nano- and micro-electronic manufacturing supply chains. Our 1,900 member companies are the engine of the future, enabling smarter, faster and more economical products that improve our lives. Since 1970, SEMI has been committed to helping members grow more profitably, create new markets and meet common industry challenges. SEMI maintains offices in Bangalore, Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Grenoble, Hsinchu, Moscow, San Jose, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.semi.org.