China derails tech tarrif talks breakthrough

A US lobby group claims that China is trying to protect its local economies by continuing to tax more than 100 tech products.

Sage Chandler, vice president for international trade at the Consumer Electronics Association, said that China was jeopardising international negotiations to eliminate tariffs on close to 260 technology products by asking to exclude more than 100 of the list.

According to Reuters, China is one of 20 World Trade Organisation members negotiating for months to expand the 1996 Information Technology Agreement (ITA).

This would have eliminated tariffs on computers, semiconductors, software, fax machines, telephones and other information technology goods among member countries.

The group is drawing up an expanded agreement could cover additional consumer goods such as flat-screen TVs, speakers and headsets as well as new types of semiconductors and other technology.

But China wants to slash the list so it can continue to protect its local developing technology industry.

Chandler said that China is cutting its nose off to spite its face. China stands to reap significant benefits from an ambitious ITA expansion outcome as most of the products on the list are made in China.

If China does not respond by mid-day, the talks will be put on hold, Reuters heard.