Global ICT Industry Calls for Global Trade Liberalization


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 13, 2013

Contact: Dr James Poisant jpoisant@witsa.org + 1 703 728-4547 

São Paulo, November 13, 2013:

The global ICT industry has called on all nations, rich and poor, to redouble efforts that enable global trade liberalization, saying this is the best way to generate increases in global income growth, and that the benefits accrue to all nations – developed countries, emerging economies and especially some of the poorest nations.

The global ICT industry, represented by the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA), says liberalizing and thereby increasing trade in all goods and services is demonstrably more beneficial, economically and socially, than aid to the developing world.

WITSA points out that information technology goods and services (ICTs) are vital building blocks – infrastructure, real and virtual – for economic development, and themselves enable trade in an extensive range of new, digitized information services that contribute to global income growth.

Members of WITSA’s associations span nearly 80 countries and economies representing companies that comprise 90 percent of the world ICT market. The global ICT industries build and drive the Internet and online services, and are thus central to economic and social growth and development. WITSA thus has a strong interest in liberalization of trade and making new modernized rules to facilitate business development.

WITSA Secretary-General Dr James Poisant says that reducing and removing trade barriers that limit the availability, or increase the cost of these ICTs to end- users is a necessary requirement in fulfilling the promise of the Digital Age, which is WITSA’s business mission.

“We urge the governments of all nations to redouble their efforts to establish and implement multilateral trade liberalization under the auspices of the World Trade

Organization (WTO)”, said Poisant. “Long-established WTO principles and processes enable trade liberalization to be achieved on an open, competitive, non-discriminatory, predictable and transparent basis.”

WITSA’s trade policy emphasizes the fundamental requirement for proposed trade agreements between countries and regions to embody critical non- discriminatory principles, including the “Most Favored Nation” principle (wherein all trading nations are treated equally), and “National Treatment”, which means imported and locally produced goods and services are treated equally in a nation’s markets, especially in relation to non-tariff issues.

WITSA specifically calls for immediate actions to be taken by all WTO member nations to accede to, and expand the scope and coverage of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), and to participate in the recently commenced Trade In Services Agreement (TISA) negotiations.

Poisant emphasized that the proposed TISA should provide a comprehensive, business-friendly framework that eliminates unnecessary barriers.

“Most importantly,” Dr Poisant said, “to create new market opportunities, all nations must avoid creating discriminatory policy measures, performance requests, or local regulations that have unclear objectives and limit supply. Some local technical standards or security requirements can restrict trade and investment, and should be eliminated.”

The new WITSA Statement of Policy on International Trade in ICT Goods and Services is available at www.witsa.org.

About WITSA

Founded in 1978, the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) is a leading consortium of ICT industry association representing members from more than 80 countries and economies. WITSA’s members represent more than 90 percent of the world ICT market.

As the leading recognized voice of the global ICT Industry, WITSA is taking a proactive role in fulfilling the promise of the Digital Age, wherein everyone on earth derives benefits from Information and communications technologies. For more information on WITSA, please visit www.witsa.org

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