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NEWS RELEASE 98-037; MAY 19, 1998 May 19, 1998
News Release 98-037
Inv. No. 332-390


The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has released the final report in its investigation on the proposed expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA).

The investigation, Advice Concerning the Proposed Expansion of the Information Technology Agreement: Phase II (Investigation No. 332-390), was requested by the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

The investigation, conducted in two phases, concerns the proposed modification of duties on certain information technology (IT) products which were listed in an attachment to the USTR's letter requesting the investigation. In addition to the findings of the second phase of the investigation, the report issued today includes and updates findings from the report on the first phase of the investigation.

As requested, in this investigation, the ITC provided detailed descriptions of the products on the USTR's list; the uses of these products relative to IT industries and consumers, as well as to non-IT industries and consumers; and the major producing countries, U.S. export markets, and sources of U.S. imports. In reviewing the products, the ITC identified those products that are viewed as import sensitive by U.S. industry or other sources, as well as any similar products that could reasonably be expected to be included in the product groupings but are not. The report identifies all entities that stated opposition to tariff reductions and identifies entities, when not previously identified or known to USTR, that support tariff reductions. The ITC also, to the extent possible, analyzed briefly current tariff and nontariff trade barriers, if any; patterns of U.S. imports and U.S. exports; and increased opportunities resulting from proposed tariff modifications.

The ITA, concluded on July 1, 1997, eliminates tariffs among 43 trading partners on a wide range of IT products including computers, telecommunications equipment, semiconductors, and other electronic products. Early in the ITA process, the participants concurred that the agreement would be subject to review and expansion. At a March 26, 1997, meeting in Geneva, ITA participants agreed that this ongoing work, which is generally referred to as ITA-II, would begin in October 1997, and the results would be implemented beginning January 1, 1999.

On September 3, 1997, the USTR published a notice in the Federal Register requesting comments on priorities for ITA-II, including suggestions for additional products for tariff elimination. In response, the USTR received a considerable number of suggestions for potential products, both finished products and IT inputs, from the U.S. private sector. In addition, the USTR received product suggestions from other ITA signatories. Negotiations on adding products to the ITA will take place this spring, and the USTR has asked the ITC to provide advice regarding a broad list of the proposed products prior to the conclusion of the negotiations.

Advice Concerning the Proposed Expansion of the Information Technology Agreement: Phase II (Inv. No. 332-390, USITC publication 3104, May 1998) includes the ITC's findings in both the first and second phases of its investigation. The report will be available on the ITC's Internet server at A printed copy may be requested by calling 202-205-1809 or by contacting the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests may also be faxed to 202-205-2104.

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