Minister Freeland welcomes expansion of WTO agreement on information technology

Minister Freeland welcomes expansion of WTO agreement on information technology

December 16, 2015 – Nairobi, Kenya – Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade, today announced the conclusion of negotiations on the expansion of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Information Technology Agreement (ITA).

The expanded ITA will eliminate tariffs on 201 information and communication technology (ICT) and related products. Under the expanded ITA, the signatories to the agreement will eliminate all tariffs on these products imported from all WTO members within a maximum of seven years, with a majority of tariffs eliminated immediately upon implementation of the agreement. Implementation of the expanded ITA is envisaged for July 1, 2016, subject to the completion of domestic implementation procedures by each participant.

The original 1996 ITA was expanded to account for the rapidly evolving technologies in the ICT sector. The additional products included in the expanded ITA are estimated by the WTO to account for approximately $1.3 trillion in annual trade globally, representing approximately 10 percent of global trade. Canada is one of 53 WTO members, including the European Union, Japan, China and the United States, participating in the expansion of the ITA.


“Canada was an original signatory to the ITA in 1996 and a strong advocate for its expansion. An expanded agreement will provide direct benefits to Canadian consumers, producers and exporters of ICT products by reducing costs and increasing trade and investment opportunities.”

– Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade

Quick facts

  • Canada’s annual global exports of the products covered by the expanded ITA amount to approximately $21.7 billion.
  • Canada’s ICT industry employs some 86,500 workers; in 2014, the industry contributed $9.3 billion to Canada’s GDP.
  • The expanded ITA will eliminate tariffs on additional ICT and related products that Canada exports, including flight simulators, audiovisual products and parts, semiconductors and electronic integrated circuits, telecommunications products, software, media storage devices, radar apparatus, video-game consoles, medical devices and navigational equipment.
  • The ITA was originally negotiated as a plurilateral agreement among 29 WTO members. Since 1996, the number of WTO signatories to the agreement has grown to 82, representing about 97 percent of world trade in products covered under the agreement.

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