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The more countries adopt information and communications technologies (ICT), the more growth they experience. Trade agreements such as the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) promote international trade in these technologies, which in turn encourages widespread adoption.
The ITA, first adopted in 1997, eliminated import tariffs on 96 percent of ICT goods exchanged between its 82 signatories. But because technology has progressed rapidly since 1997, the ITA underwent a revision in 2015 to cover more products. As a result, the agreement now covers 99 percent of traded ICT goods.
In 2013, worldwide ICT imports totaled $2 trillion. Of that total, 87 percent was accounted for by signatories of the recently revised ITA. The absence of tariffs in those signatory countries lowered prices for buyers, thereby speeding widespread adoption and the growth that comes with it. Countries that have yet to join the ITA have chosen to forego those benefits and are thus missing an opportunity to spur economic growth.
Photo Credit: David Schroeter via Flickr