WTO deal to cut Aussie prices for tech products

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WTO deal to cut Aussie prices for tech products

First tariff-cutting deal pulled off in 18 years.

Prices for high-tech goods imported in Australia will drop by as much as 35 percent after the World Trade Organisation pulled off its first tariff-cutting deal in 18 years.

Australia and 51 other members of the WTO yesterday agreed to remove restrictions on around $1.3 billion in global trade for 201 types of IT products.

They range from consumer electronics like headphones and video game consoles to medical devices like ECG and MRI machines. 

Around A$19 billion worth of goods imported into Australia is covered by the agreement. The cuts come into force in 2017.

The expansion of the Information Technology Agreement 1996 is expected to increase global output by around US$190 billion a year.

It now includes modern technology products not in existence when the deal was originally signed, such as GPS devices, touchscreens and lithium ion batteries.

The WTO countries have been negotiating the extension of the agreement since 2012.

“By eliminating tariffs on these technology products we immediately reduce their cost, potentially boosting demand and stimulating further innovation.  The ITA expansion will make it much easier to ship these heavily traded goods around the globe,” Trade Minister Andrew Robb said in a statement.

The ITA covers A$1.3 trillion in global trade.

The original ITA eliminated tariffs on products such as computers and peripheral equipment, electrical components such as semiconductors, computer software, telecommunications equipment and analytical instruments.

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