From POLITICO's Morning Trade on negotiations at WTO

BIG TECH DEAL REACHED IN NAIROBI: It's for realsies this time. After more than three years and several false finishes, a deal to eliminate tariffs on $1.3 trillion of information technology trade was reached in Nairobi on Wednesday, Guida reports. China officially submitted its final schedule outlining how it would eliminate tariffs as part of the Information Technology Agreement expansion, ending days of suspense.

Beijing's final offer was the same as its previous one, except for technical changes. That means 40 percent of its products won't see full tariff elimination until five or seven years after the deal goes into force on July 1. Turkey's schedule wasn't finished in time for the ministers' conference, although Ankara shares a customs union with the European Union and thus will see its tariffs eliminated on the covered products.

Sixty-five percent of the 201 tariff lines will go to zero on day one, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo noted. Products covered by the deal include MRI machines, GPS devices, solid state drives, video game consoles, loud speakers, video cameras, sophisticated testing equipment and next-generation semiconductors known as MCOs.

U.S., CHINA COOPERATION KEY TO FINAL TECH DEAL: The U.S. announced its support for Beijing's final tech trade tariff offer in a joint statement after a conversation between U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng. The two were not able to meet in person although they tried to talk to each other at the airport Wednesdayafternoon. ITA ambassadors met afterward in the Intercontinental Hotel, where applause was heard from outside the room multiple times. Click here to read more on the deal from USTR:

OTHERWISE, IT LOOKS BLEAK AT WTO: Meanwhile, after the first two days of meetings, the 163 member economies of the WTO were still far from agreement on what the global trade body should focus on after Nairobi. It's unclear what failure to agree on a "ministerial declaration," a statement of outcomes and goals, would mean for the future of the 14-year-old Doha round of world trade talks, although some countries believe it would provide space for more creative thinking on what to do next.

"I think what's important for us to do this week is to reach the agreements we're able to reach to remind one another that we need the WTO, and ... then to go home and spend some serious time working both on what are the big targets that we're going to aim for going forward," Canadian Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland told POLITICO Pro.

A deal on agricultural exports is also up in the air, although negotiators in the wee hours of the morning were able to get language close enough to submit a text to ministers for final political decisions. On ag export subsidies, the draft text would call for developed countries to eliminate them completely by 2020, while developing countries would do the same by 2023, though the least developed countries would get additional flexibility. South Africa's Davies said improvements were madein the food aid portion, but added that he'd wait to see how other African countries felt about it.

"What we've got on the table I think is a very modest package in agriculture, and it never was going to be anything more than that," he said, adding that the ban on ag export subsidies would be "a small move in the right direction." "I think if we can solve it it will be a step forward in the right direction, but a modest one," he said.

India and other smaller developing countries are still calling for a special safeguard mechanism to be part of any ag deal, allowing them to ramp up tariffs in response to import surges, but the text only calls for work on that issue. It also reaffirms the decision from the Bali ministerial on public stockholding programs for food. One WTO diplomat noted this means the draft is probably not balanced from the Indian perspective. The text is also not subject to dispute settlement. Click here to read the text:

LDC RULES OF ORIGIN READY FOR DECISION: More positively, negotiators on Wednesday reached a draft deal for the rules of origin piece of the least-developed country package, although pledges in that text are nonbinding. The last compromise in that text would allow countries to give duty-free treatment for poor countries' products under preference programs, like the African Growth and Opportunity Act and Generalized System of Preferences, for products whose content comes from largely somewhere else. Specifically, the rule is set at "up to 75% of the final value of the product, or an equivalent threshold in case another calculation method is used." Click here to read that text:

REPORT: IRAN READY TO JOIN THE WTO: Iran is ready to kick off negotiations to join the World Trade Organization, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported on Wednesday, quoting the country's Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh.

Nematzadeh made the remarks in a meeting with the Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lenita Toivakka on the sidelines of WTO's Tenth Ministerial Conference in Nairobi. In the post-nuclear deal situation, Iran is ready to pursue joining the WTO, the official said. IRNA also reported that Toivakka expressed support for Tehran's bid. To read the stories, click here:

Evan Ottenfeld | Legislative Assistant and Scheduler

Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch

215 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003

TEL: (202) 454-5126   EMAIL:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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