July 17, 2013
by Bloomberg Businessweek

Negotiations among dozens of nations aimed at eliminating duties on some electronic devices collapsed after China proposed excluding many items from the talks.

“The United States is extremely disappointed that it became necessary to suspend negotiations,” U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said yesterday in a statement on the Information Technology Agreement. “A diverse group of members participating in the negotiations determined that China’s current position makes progress impossible at this stage.”

China and the U.S., the world’s two largest economies, are among members of the Geneva-based World Trade Organization seeking to expand the agreement, signed in 1996 before the introduction of smartphones, tablet computers and a range of other electronics goods. The accord being negotiated would update the list of goods that receive duty-free treatment.

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