U.S. and China come to I.T. agreement PLUS the U.S. asks the IMF to cancel their debt on Ebola-stricken countries
China and the United States achieved a breakthrough in the negotiations on the elimination of tariffs on the products of information technology, which could pave the way for the first major agreement to cut tariffs in 17 years the World Trade Organization (WTO). The advance would allow “speedy conclusion” of negotiations to expand the Technology Agreement (ITA) of the WTO in Geneva later this year, told reporters Tuesday Trade Representative of the United States, Michael Froman.
The ATI reduce global tariffs on products such as medical equipment, GPS devices, game consoles and next-generation semiconductors. “This is encouraging for the relationship between the US and China news,” Froman said on the sidelines of a summit of the Forum of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Beijing. “This shows how the US and China are working together to advance both our bilateral economic agenda and also to support the multilateral trading system,” he added.
The ITA, which came into force in 1997, now covers more than four billion dollars in annual trade, according to the US government. Participants to the agreement are committed to eliminate tariffs on items such as computers and software, telecommunications equipment and other advanced technology products.An expanded ATI eliminate tariffs on nearly a billion dollars in global sales of information technology, Froman said. More than 200 tariff lines will be reduced to zero under the new agreement.
The executive vice president of the United States Chamber of Commerce, Myron Brilliant, welcomed the announcement. “With so many new products created from the ITA entered into force two decades, the expansion of the coverage of the agreement is essential,” Brilliant said in a statement. “The commercial importance of these negotiations is evident.”
In other foreign related news, the United States has proposed that the International Monetary Fund cancel their $100 million debt from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in order to allow them to free up their resources in each country to use in the fight against the threat of the Ebola virus.The debt cancellation would allow these three impoverished West African nations spend the money to contain the devastating epidemic, responsible for the US Treasury told Reuter.
Today, these countries owe the IMF $372 million, of which $55 million are due in the next two years, highlighted the sources, who asked not to be identified.
“The IMF has played a critical role in providing financial support to the countries hardest hit by Ebola,” said Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, in a statement sent to Reuters. “Today we ask the IMF to expand that support canceling this debt to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.”
The IMF proposal still must be approved by the other 187 members of the organization. Lew will recommend that this action be taken at the meeting of the 20 largest economies in the world to be held this week in Brisbane, Australia. United States proposed that the money comes out of a special fund for the IMF to countries facing natural disasters, which now has 150 million dollars and was first used after the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010.
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are among the poorest countries in Africa and the hardest hit by the worst recorded epidemic of Ebola since the disease was identified in 1976. The virus has killed at least 4,950 people this year about 13,240 cases, according the World Health Organization.
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