(SEJONG=Yonhap News) A program to cut tariffs levied on 834 information technology products will start next month, with all of them to be eliminated worldwide within at most seven years, as part of the implementation of a global trade pact, the finance ministry here said Wednesday.
The upgraded version of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which newly covers audio-video, medical and measuring equipment, was concluded at a meeting at the World Trade Organization in December 2015, with the pact coming into effect in 44 countries, including South Korea, the United States and China.
The ITA will begin to eliminate import duties on 834 IT items, including semiconductor manufacturing machinery, medical equipment and optical instruments, starting the first day of December, according to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.
Out of the total, 381 items will face immediate tariff cuts on Thursday and 365 goods will be subject to the reduction in the coming three years. Tariffs on the remaining products will be removed within five to seven years.
"The implementation of the ITA will help South Korean IT companies expand overseas and import cheaper IT components," the finance ministry said. "The tariff cut will also benefit South Korean consumers as it will pull down the consumer prices of imported products, such as headphones and MP3 players."
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Source: Yonhap News (Nov. 30, 2016)