It’s another good day for the global campaign to expand the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) and the accompanying prospects for fostering growth, innovation, and jobs. This afternoon, U.S. Reps. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., and Ron Kind, D-Wisc., along with 39 of their colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives, sent a letter to President Obama saying:
|[S]ustained U.S. political leadership at the highest levels will be necessary to get a robust expansion of the agreement and achieve a significant trade win this year. We do not want America to miss this opportunity to grow jobs, foster innovation, and spur economic growth through trade, and we urge you to devote the necessary resources and political focus to get an ambitious outcome in 2013.|
Negotiations in Geneva to expand this important agreement have been making good headway since they began last May, but continued strong leadership from the White House will be needed if we are to get ITA expansion across the finish line this year.
Today’s letter truly reflects the strong, bipartisan support for ITA expansion in Congress. Twenty-five of those members of Congress that co-signed the letter are members of the House Ways & Means Committee. That’s two-thirds of all the members of that powerful committee, which oversees trade policy for the U.S. House.
This impressive show of support from Congress is deeply appreciated by the tech community, which has been collaborating closely with the Administration to advance this initiative. We also applaud Reps. Roskam and Kind for their leadership to send this letter and raise greater awareness of the importance of ITA expansion for the U.S. economy.
The import of this work for the U.S. and the global economies cannot be understated. The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation estimates that ITA expansion would increase U.S. exports of tech products by $2.8 billion annually, expand global GDP by $190 billion, and support the creation of roughly 60,000 new American jobs.
The current ITA eliminated tariffs on a wide range of products. But despite the introduction of myriad new products (such as GPS systems, next generation semiconductors, and Bluetooth devices), not a single additional product line has been added to the ITA since it went into force in 1997.
This strong show of congressional support comes on the eve of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade ministers’ meeting this weekend in Surabaya, Indonesia, where it's expected the 21 APEC economies will also step up with a call for a commercially significant ITA expansion this year. This also comes just before the next round of ITA expansion talks set to take place in Geneva next week.
By contributing their leadership to this critical global campaign that will advance U.S. innovation and economic growth, 39 members of the U.S. Congress are making it more likely we will see an expanded ITA in the near future.