Association News

NEMA Welcomes USTR Announcement on WTO ITA expansion.

Press Release Summary:

Jul 28, 2015 - U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced countries agreed to expand scope of World Trade Organization's Information Technology Agreement (WTO ITA). In said announcement, products of interest to NEMA manufacturers were provisionally agreed upon by participating governments. NEMA President and CEO Kevin J. Cosgriff applauded Ambassador Froman, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Ambassador to WTO Michael Punke, and U.S. negotiators for "steadfast advocacy and their success."

National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) - Rosslyn, VA

Original Press Release

NEMA and MITA Welcome USTR Announcement on ITA Expansion

Press release date: Jul 24, 2015

ROSSLYN, Va. — The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) welcomed the announcement by U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman that agreement had been reached among a leading group of countries to expand the scope of the World Trade Organization’s Information Technology Agreement (WTO ITA). According to the announcement, a product list including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, and computed tomography (CT) units as well as other specific products of interest to NEMA manufacturers has been provisionally agreed by participating governments.

“Tariff elimination is a fundamental goal for our companies, so NEMA has been working with U.S. negotiators on ITA expansion since the early days,” said NEMA President and CEO Kevin J. Cosgriff. “We applaud Ambassador Froman, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Ambassador to the WTO Michael Punke, and the team of U.S. negotiators for their steadfast advocacy and their success.”

“Medical care is a global industry that should be supported by trade policy,” said Nelson Mendes, chief executive officer of Ziehm Imaging and chairman of the Board of Directors of the Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance (MITA), a division of NEMA. “Elimination by the ITA of tariffs on MRI, ultrasound, and CT equipment will be a boon to manufacturers like Ziehm as well as healthcare facilities and patients in participating countries.”

“I would like to applaud our U.S. negotiating team and those around the world who worked to expand the Information Technology Agreement, making lifesaving medical imaging technologies like MRI, CT, x-ray, and ultrasound tariff-free in 40 countries,” said Gregory Sorensen, MD, President and CEO of Siemens Healthcare North America. “In doing so, it will have not only a direct impact on doctors and patients by improving access, but also will enable companies like Siemens to invest more in R&D, American jobs, and the U.S. economy, further accelerating the development of the next generation of medical imaging equipment to detect disease earlier than ever thought possible to advance global health.”

Under the ITA, willing WTO member countries agreed in 1997 to eliminate their own customs duties, also known as tariffs, on a list of information and communication technology products. A U.S.-led effort to expand the number of covered product types began in 2011. Now that the product list has been agreed upon by the U.S. and other WTO members, negotiations are expected to proceed until December on the schedule of tariff elimination each party will implement for new products and on future plans to reopen ITA to additional products.

The USTR announcement on the ITA expansion agreement is available here. The list of covered products is available here.

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) represents nearly 400 electrical, medical imaging, and radiation therapy manufacturers. Our combined industries account for more than 400,000 American jobs and more than 7,000 facilities across the U.S. Domestic production exceeds $117 billion per year. Our industry is at the forefront on electrical safety, reliability, resilience, efficiency, and energy security.

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