The EU is set to offer tariff cuts on about $1 billion worth of imports of printed circuit boards and other electronic equipment. This comes as part of a review of the World Trade Organisation's Information Technology Agreement, European Commission sources said.
The offer has been approved by member states and will be submitted by the commission before the end of the year.
"There is no reason why we can't get down to zero by 1 January 2000. Obviously we have talked with our industry. It could be done in two stages, on 1 January 1999 and 1 January 2000. Whether there would be exceptions is something we would have to look at," a source said.
The EU industry for electronic manufacturing kit has already agreed a joint position with its counterparts in the US, Japan, and Switzerland, the commission source said, adding that he expects these industries to take a common line and to win support from their governments.
WTO negotiators will also examine possibility of removing non-tariff barriers and a study has been launched into whether international standards and conformity assessments can form a basis for mutual acceptance of conformant IT and telecomms equipment, he said.
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