At last, Russia has stepped up and fulfilled its promise to join the Information Technology Agreement (ITA). Today, the WTO is reporting Moscow has joined the agreement, which is regarded by the tech industry as one of the WTO’s most commercially successful trade pacts.
Recall the dust up a couple years ago when Russia seemed to be balking at an earlier commitment to join the ITA as a condition of WTO accession. After substantial outcry from the Hill, the Administration, and from other trading partners, Russia reaffirmed its pledge to join.
To be sure, two years is a long time for Russia to take to go through the procedural processes necessary to actually join the ITA. But, better late than never. With today’s news, the ITA is 78 members strong. Moreover, Russia’s imports of IT products in 2012 amounted to roughly $20 billion -- no small potatoes for the global tech industry. WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo highlighted this economic opportunity. “It marks an important step forward for Russia's information technology sector, as well as for the ITA and its mission of bringing down IT prices for consumers and businesses across the globe.”
Without question, this gives a boost to the ITA at a time when its members are pressing to significantly expand the number of tech products covered by the agreement by the end of the year.