Cheaper IT products needed to liberalise regional industry
Sarawak Tribune - Sunday, 1 December, 2002
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CHIANGMAI - Asia Pacific Information Technology (IT) ministers have agreed that the reduction in taxes for related products and services were needed to liberalise the industry in the region.

This was recognised during discussions between IT ministers and representatives from the private sectors of each member country at the ongoing Asian Oceanian Computing Industry Organization (ASOCIO), general assembly & symposium, here.

ASOCIO vice-president, Wilson Tan, who is a delegate at the three-day which started on Nov 28, 2002, said other ingredients to liberalise regional IT was the free movement of IT talents between member countries.

The ASOCIO is recognised as the international representative body of the computing industry in the Asia Pacific region.

With 20 country members and five guest members, Its main objectives are to promote, encourage, and foster trade and investment between its members.

Tan said that further discussions to work on recommendations and policies between government regulators to implement the proposal for tax reductions and free movement of IT talents is expected to take place the earliest by next year.

"From the discussions so far, there is strong support for an international certification that recognise IT qualification across each member countries in the Asia Pacific region," he told Bernama in interview here recently.

Tan said Japan and Singapore have both already signed free trade agreements to allow movement of IT talents between their countries while most countries in the Asia Pacific region still have in place some form of barriers in terms of movement of IT talents.

As for the reduction in taxes, Tan said this refers to the reduction in import duties and withholding taxes to enable IT products such as software and hardware as well as services to be cheaper or cost effective.

The ASOCIO general assembly and symposium is an annual event hosted by each member country in turn.