Talks on cutting trade tariffs on hundreds of information technology products collapsed on Friday...
Talks on cutting trade tariffs on hundreds of information technology products collapsed on Friday, delaying and potentially scuppering a deal estimated to be worth $1 trillion to global trade.
“We are disappointed not to be celebrating a deal this week. We missed a big opportunity,” US Ambassador Michael Punke said at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The talks aimed to update the WTO’s 17-year-old Information Technology Agreement, which guarantees zero-tariff and duty-free trade on hundreds of products, adding about 200 more products to the list. Several participants blamed the failure on a deadlock between China and South Korea over liquid crystal display (LCD) screens. “The participants have significantly reduced the gaps on expanding the coverage of the ITA agreement in recent days, but unfortunately it has not been possible to finalise the negotiations this week,” WTO director general Roberto Azevedo said. Participants are expected to reconvene in 2015 to see if they can overcome the blockage.
South Korea, home to top LCD producer LG Display Co, wanted LCD screens included in the deal, participants said. But China, which wants to foster its own LCD industry, refused, demanding that all countries accept the same terms that it agreed bilaterally with the United States last month after a long-standing stalemate.