Office of Industries Working Paper: the Global Positioning System (GPS): Global Developments and Opportunities

June 5, 2003

Washington, 04 Jun 2003

Full report (1MB PDF)


Expanding use and popularity have caused the GPS to become an information technology that is part of the emerging global information infrastructure.

The Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which was finalized during meetings held in Singapore by the World Trade Organization in December 1996, requires signatory countries to eliminate tariffs on a specified list of information technology products by January 1, 2000. These products include computer hardware and peripherals, telecommunications equipment, computer software, semiconductor manufacturing equipment, analytical instruments, and semiconductors and other electronic components.6

Although the GPS equipment is not included in the ITA when incorporated into information technology products that are in the Agreement, it will be duty free. Thus, demand for GPS is likely to benefit from increased demand for cellular phones, satellite network equipment, and other ITA products incorporating GPS technology.

Japan, followed by the United States, is the principal global supplier of GPS-related products. Although the United States and Japan are comparable with respect to GPS manufacturing technology, the United States enjoys a slight lead in higher value-added products with an advanced software content.7 The remaining global market share was largely accounted for by European countries.

Although the proliferation of hundreds of stand-alone GPS applications have had an enormous beneficial impact on the global economy, future economic benefits are virtually unlimited as new applications continue to be created.

This report provides a description of the evolution of the GPS; the operation process; U.S. policy addressing the GPS; the U.S. industry; global sales and principal markets; global developments and opportunities; other satellite navigation systems; and an outlook of GPS expansion during the next several years.


US International Trade Commission

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