Free & Open Markets

Free & Open Markets

The WSC’s mandate is to facilitate the healthy growth of the industry from a long-term, global perspective.  Toward this end, the WSC is studying trends and opportunities for promoting growth in the world semiconductor market.

The WSC also is committed to facilitating the growth of the semiconductor market by eliminating tariffs and non-tariffs barriers for all semiconductor products. Key initiatives to promote free and open markets include:

Tariff Elimination and Classification

  • WSC membership is conditioned on the elimination of all tariffs on semiconductor products or a commitment to expeditiously eliminate or suspend all tariffs pending their formal elimination.
  • WTO Information Technology Agreement (1997)- Eliminated tariffs on semiconductor goods, semiconductor manufacturing equipment, and other high-tech goods in the ICT (information and communication technology) sector.
  • “Agreement on Duty Free Treatment of Multi-chip Integrated Circuits (MCPs)” (2005)- GAMS members agreed to eliminate all existing duties on MCPs, an evolution in semiconductor packaging technology. The World Customs Organization amended the Harmonized System to include MCPs under the semiconductor heading (HS8542) in 2007.
  • Information Technology Agreement (ITA) Expansion (2015) – WTO ITA expansion signatories, including all GAMS members, agreed to eliminate tariffs on 201 new technology product lines, including advanced semiconductors known as multi-component semiconductors (MCOs). Tariff reductions will begin July 31, 2016. The World Customs Organization amended the Harmonized System to include MCOs under the semiconductor heading (HS8542) effective January 1, 2017.


Encryption Certification and Licensing Regulations

The WSC is committed to improving the global policy and regulatory environment for globally traded and commonly used Information and Communications Technology (ICT) products with encryption. Because nearly all ICT products contain encryption –in order to prevent data loss, ensure security and integrity of data and allow for valuable commercial applications such as mobile payments- the adoption of restrictive encryption policies and regulations could unfairly limit market access for ICT products and discriminate against foreign competitors.

The WSC has developed Encryption Principles since 2009. GAMS members have committed to observe these principles and to encourage non-GAMS countries to observe them. These principles provide that widely available and deployed products with encryption should not be regulated as a general matter.

May, 2013 – WSC Encryption Principles

Worldwide Customs and Trade Facilitation

Trade facilitation is critically important to achieving free and open markets, reducing barriers to trade, lowering costs, improving business conditions, enhancing IT, and promoting global alignment, to the benefit of governments, industry, and consumers alike.

The WSC supports the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation, and encourages all GAMS and WTO members to act expeditiously to ratify this Agreement.

The WSC also engages with the World Customs Organization and national Customs authorities to harmonize trading classifications for semiconductor products.

May, 2013 – WSC Trade Facilitation Principles

Regional Support Programs and Regional Stimulus

While the WSC supports appropriate stimulus measures by governments and authorities, it is the WSC’s view that government actions should be guided by market principles and avoid adoption of protectionist or discriminatory measures.

The WSC maintains dialogue with GAMS members on relevant government support programs in the semiconductor sector.