India backs off from US-Led electronics trade pact

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Friday, July 26, 2013: India will not be party to a US-backed trade pact permitting duty free trade of consumer products like mobiles, tablets and LCDs to its member countries.

India’s refusal has come almost a week after US accused China for not agreeing to continue dialogues that could have led to the expansion of the 1996 Information Technology Agreement (ITA), supported by US and the European Union.

The talks to expand the list of products that can be traded duty-free stopped a few weeks ago and will reportedly begin in September. US lawmakers and lobbyists are hopeful that the American vice president, Joe Biden will be successful in convincing India to take part in the dialogues in September, reports ET.

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It is perceived that India’s demand for electronic goods will plummet to $400 billion or Rs 24 lakh crore by 2020.

Robert Hoffman, senior vice president for government affairs told the US lawmakers at the Information Technology Industry Council that “It is puzzling to hear some in the India government express ‘buyer’s remorse’ for joining the initial agreement in 1997. The ITA has played a pivotal role in building India’s IT-enabled services industry by providing access to myriad innovative and affordable ICT equipment through tariff elimination.”

Experts feel that the main issue with the ITA-1 lies in the fact that the Indian government did not consult the industry when it signed the pact.

Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine

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