mobile | classic
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology Magazine





Follow us on:
Follow us on Facebook Share via Twitter Share via LinkedIn


Search...

Electronics Buyers' Guide

Electronics Manufacturing & Production Handbook 2017


 

From the editor's desk: Is SA ready to adopt the ITA?
19 July 2017, News

2017 marks the 21st anniversary of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), an initiative of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to eliminate trade tariffs on hundreds of high-tech products. The acronym ITA is something of a misnomer as the agreement covers a broad gamut of products that far exceeds the traditional IT industry. This includes products such as certain electronic components which SA imports for the manufacture, maintenance and repair of electronic equipment, as well as finished products the country exports or is looking to establish an export market for, such as electricity meters, set-top boxes and smartphones.

In May, the non-profit, US-based Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) released a comprehensive study on the potential benefits of joining the ITA. The study (accessible at www.dataweek.co.za/*itad1) focused specifically on six developing nations including South Africa, proving that there is substantial international interest in bringing the country on board.

The study recognises that there are two likely concerns behind South Africa’s reluctance to join the agreement, namely a decrease in tariff revenues that comprise a sizable portion of the government’s tax revenue, and the potential harm to the country’s domestic ICT production industries and employment therein.

On the first point, ITIF notes that by eliminating ICT tariffs, ITA accession lowers prices for ICTs, which disproportionately raises demand for these productivity and innovation-empowering capital goods. “Keeping ICT prices low is paramount if countries wish to participate in global value chains for the production of ICT parts, components and final products,” the report states. “In contrast, maintaining high ICT tariffs (in part by not joining the ITA) harms both developing countries’ ICT-producing and ICT-consuming sectors. In particular, failure to join the ITA has caused nations to be left out of global production networks for ICT products, causing them to miss out on tremendous growth opportunities.” To put a number on said growth opportunities, the report estimates that South African GDP stands to grow by $770 million after 10 years if it were to adopt the ITA.

As to the second point, the study recognises that “developing country policymakers have raised concerns about the impact that removing tariffs may have on domestic ICT firms and their workers. Indeed, tariffs remain a popular (if discredited) tool for those who think that protectionism is an effective way to develop domestic industries by protecting them from the forces of global competition.” These concerns are addressed by pointing out that by giving a country’s citizens cheaper access to ICT products, they will have more disposable income to spend elsewhere, benefiting the entire economy. Going forward, analysts estimate that if South Africa could increase the size of its ICT sector by 10%, it could create 45 000 direct new jobs (and as many as 140 000 jobs if direct and indirect employment is counted) over the next eight years.

In the past, the electronics industry has teamed up with the South African Electrotechnical Export Commission (SAEEC) to lobby for South Africa’s International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) to amend its tariff codes to come more in line with classifications of electronic components and equipment that make sense to the engineering and manufacturing sector, with the aim of reducing import tariffs on components. These efforts have repeatedly hit a brick wall and the government shows no signs of wanting to adopt the ITA, but perhaps the time has come for it to consider removing some barriers to trade by adopting the agreement, and accept that while we may lose on the swings we might ultimately gain on the roundabouts.

Brett van den Bosch

Editor


Credit(s)
Supplied By: Technews Publishing
Tel: +27 11 543 5800
Fax: +27 11 787 8052
Email: malckey@technews.co.za
www: www.technews.co.za
  Follow us on Facebook Share via Twitter Share via LinkedIn    

Further reading:

  • Electronics news digest
    16 August 2017, News
    South Africa • The CEO of ICASA has been placed on formal suspension. A statement read: “The Council of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) hereby notifies all stakeholders ...
  • Ghana repurposes communications antenna for astronomy
    16 August 2017, News
    The 32 metre converted telecommunications antenna will be integrated into the African VLB Network in preparation for the second phase construction of the Square Kilometre Array.
  • Practically educating Gauteng’s technical educators
    16 August 2017, News
    The annual Gauteng Department of Education training, which has been running for three years in partnership with Resolution Circle, took place in July.
  • Bluetooth updated for mesh networking
    16 August 2017, Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, News
    A highly anticipated mesh networking standard has been introduced to the Bluetooth specification by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG).
  • From the editor's desk: Fake chips aren’t going away
    16 August 2017, Technews Publishing, News
    Anyone who’s designed and tested electronic circuits will tell you, having a circuit that doesn’t work is not the worst that can happen; it’s the intermittent faults that really hurt. For a product that’s ...
  • Altair student day inspires STEM interest
    16 August 2017, News
    Altair South Africa recently hosted a group of potential engineering students as part of its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) initiative to expose them to the opportunities available ...
  • Wage negotiations deadlocked
    16 August 2017, News
    At the time of writing, wage negotiations are ongoing in the engineering and steel industries. While trade unions have applied for a certificate to launch strike action within the South African engineering ...
  • Locally-made fixed-wireless router
    16 August 2017, News
    Huge Software and Technologies, a sister company of Huge Telecom – the provider of full suite telephony services to corporate organisations and residential homes – has successfully developed its own fixed-wireless ...
  • Win a Microchip MCP9600 evaluation board
    16 August 2017, News
    Microchip’s MCP9600 evaluation board is used to digitise the thermocouple EMF voltage to degrees Celsius with ±1°C accuracy. The device also supports types J, T, N, E, B, S and R. Each of these types ...
  • Electronics news digest
    19 July 2017, News
    South Africa • Weighing just 2,5 kg, South Africa’s first privately owned nanosatellite, nSight1, has been successfully launched into orbit from the International Space Station (ISS). Deployed on 24 ...
  • From the chairman’s desk: Manufacturing in South Africa
    19 July 2017, AREI, This Week's Editor's Pick, News
    Warren Muir reflects on his attendance at the 2017 Manufacturing Indaba, and how it fits in with arei’s plans for the South African electronics industry.
  • SA antennas used in major European tunnel project
    19 July 2017, Poynting Antennas, News
    The Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world’s longest and deepest train tunnel through the Swiss Alps, makes exclusive use of technology from Poynting Antennas to ensure a seamless digital communication service underground over a route length of more than 57 km.

 
 
         
Contact:
Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronic Buyers Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Other
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual





 

         
    Classic | Mobile

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.