The cost of over 200 high-tech products such as DVD players, printers, video consoles and routers could tumble in the years to come after a $1.3tn deal was struck between 54 nations, including the US, China and countries in the EU.
The agreement was brokered at a World Trade Organisation (WTO) summit in Geneva, and means that duties on imports are scrapped, regardless of which WTO member has produced the item.
As well as covering consumer and business tech products, the deal also includes high-end tech equipment, such as tools for the manufacture of printed circuits and semiconductors, medical equipment and even telecoms satellites.
The European Commission (EC) said it hopes that the deal will bolster the economy across Europe by reducing costs for consumers and businesses buying tech equipment, and for manufacturers by reducing tariff costs and increasing sales.
“This is a great deal for consumers, and for companies big and small. We’ve worked hard to broker this compromise between different countries and to find the best solutions for Europe," said EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström.
"This deal will cut costs for consumers and business, in particular for smaller firms which have been hit especially hard by excessive tariffs in the past."
The agreement is part of the existing Information Technology Agreement brokered in 1996 in a bid to reduce costs for manufacturers and purchasers of high-tech equipment.
WTO director-general Roberto Azevêdo praised the agreement as a “landmark” deal that will have major benefits for the global economy.
“Eliminating tariffs on trade of this magnitude will have a huge impact. It will support lower prices, including in many other sectors that use IT products as inputs, it will create jobs and it will help to boost GDP growth around the world,” he said.
The new tariffs will be introduced from 1 July 2016 for a period of three years. Other nations that have agreed to the deal include Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan and South Korea.
The EC and WTO hope that more nations will sign up ahead of the final ratification in December when the WTO meets in Nairobi.
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