Information Technology Agreement
Hong Kong, China is a signatory to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Information Technology Agreement (ITA) concluded in December 1996. Under the ITA, signatories shall reduce their tariffs on specified information technology-related products originating from all WTO Members (including non-signatories) to zero.
The main product categories covered by the ITA include: computers, semiconductors, semiconductor manufacturing equipment, telecommunication apparatus, instruments and apparatus (e.g. cash registers, electronic calculators), data-storage media and software, and parts and accessories to the above six categories of products.
According to the WTO, exports of IT products reached an estimated US$1.6 trillion in 2013 - almost triple the 1996 value. Hong Kong has a significant trade interest in the information technology sector. Our manufacturers and traders have been benefiting from the enhanced market access opportunities arising from tariff elimination under the ITA.
Hong Kong, China has implemented all the ITA elimination commitments on 1 July 1997. As at 5 April 2016, over 80 WTO Members were Participants to the ITA. Their aggregate trade in those products covered by the ITA represented approximately 96% of world share. Please visit the WTO website for further information about the ITA, including its Participants and product coverage.
Review of Product Coverage
The ITA provides for Participants to periodically review the product coverage with a view to agreeing, by consensus, whether in the light of technological developments, the product coverage should be modified to incorporate additional products.
In 2012, some ITA Participants have started to make proposals to include additional products in the ITA. Hong Kong, China has been participating actively and constructively in the discussions with a view to expanding the ITA's product coverage. The 24 Participants to the Expansion of Trade in Information Technology Products (ITA Expansion) announced on 16 December 2015 the conclusion of negotiations to liberalize trade on IT products beyond the original ITA. Under this new agreement, tariff on 201 additional IT products, which include new generation semi-conductors, GPS navigation systems, tools for manufacturing printed circuits, telecommunications satellites, touch screens and some advanced medical equipment, has started to be eliminated from July 2016. According to the WTO, annual trade of these products in 2015 is estimated at US$1.3 trillion, accounting for approximately 10% of world trade in goods. Please visit the WTO website for further information about ITA Expansion.