“Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Apple Inc. are likely to be some of the big beneficiaries if a deal reached between China and the U.S. leads to slashed tariffs on a range of technology products around the world, including videogame consoles, advanced chips and prepaid cards,” Eva Dou, Bob Davis, and Don Clark report for The Wall Street Journal. “Tuesday’s agreement between China and the U.S. clears a critical hurdle toward expanding the Information Technology Agreement, whose 78 members account for 97% of IT exports. It comes after repeated calls from tech-industry groups to update the 1997 global deal, saying that eliminating tariffs on such items as CDs and floppy disks was of little value in an era of iTunes gift cards and prepaid credits for, say, the online game ‘World of Warcraft.'”
“If other member economies approve the pact as expected, the new agreement would boost tech companies in the U.S., Japan and Taiwan, among others. The agreement could cover $1 trillion in trade, according to U.S. estimates,” Dou, Davis, and Clark report. “Beijing’s position has long been an obstacle to expanding the ITA, as China would lose money with the abolition of import tariffs on components shipped to its factories.”
“The agreement would allow manufacturers to ship their products, either components or finished goods, to another country without having to pay customs duties at the border on the items covered in the updated agreement.,” Dou, Davis, and Clark report. “Apple and Microsoft were especially pushing for no tariff on the content cards, which are seen as a way to curb software piracy, say people following the negotiations.”
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