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Ambassador Kirk Speaks at the Coalition of Service Industries Summit

10/13/2009 - 12:33pm

This morning, Ambassador Kirk spoke at the Coalition of Service Industries Summit. Services are the main driver of U.S. economic and global growth - accounting for more than 75% of the domestic economy, but representing only 30% of our international trade.

ARK at CSI

Ambassador Kirk spoke about the potential of services in the global economy and what USTR is doing to grow the service industry internationally.

"The mission of USTR is to help those companies and their workers do even more.

First things first, we are going to do a better job of figuring out where American businesses and entrepreneurs most need our help. When I took on the job of United States Trade Representative, I was surprised to discover that the United States lacks significant information on small and medium sized service-sector enterprises in the global marketplace.

That knowledge might not help us to fix every problem, but it can certainly help us to figure out where problems exist. So I have asked the International Trade Commission to undertake a series of studies on the role of small and medium sized businesses in services trade. We will use the outcome of those studies to target our efforts where they will have the most impact for the most Americans.

...In order to create new service sector jobs here at home, we need trade agreements that will enable American companies to meet global demand for both goods and services. Increasingly, those goods and services go hand-in-hand.

The iPhone, MP3 players and GPS devices, for example, became phenomenal successes because they combined great hardware with a seamless set of services. And we can help more American companies to capitalize on the synergy of goods and services by pursuing a global consensus on the growing importance of services trade and the accompanying need for fair, effective regulation.

If given the opportunity, American entrepreneurs are ready to reach any market, anywhere in the world. But unfortunately, at too many borders, the door of opportunity is still closed. That's not to say we haven't made progress - the world's leading economies have made solid commitments to services liberalization through the WTO system - but there is still plenty of room for improvement. Some of the largest emerging markets are still walled off to services trade by regulations that restrict foreign competition and tilt the playing field in favor of domestic champions. Often, these policies are unwritten and unspoken, making it all the more difficult for American companies, particularly smaller enterprises, to overcome the challenges to doing business.

We are taking concrete steps to address those barriers because a robust services trade is not only good for America. It is also good for the world. Access to efficient infrastructure services is a key ingredient in economic development for the some of the world's poorest nations, and a critical component of continued growth in the world's most developed states. And it can also be a boon to the world's poorest residents. For example, the ability of millions of small farmers to access market and weather information through new mobile networks, or to access new capital through enhanced financial services, is bringing new efficiency and productivity to the agriculture sector and transforming millions of lives."

You can read the full remarks, as prepared for delivery, here.