Service industries account for 68 percent of U.S. GDP and four out of five U.S. jobs. This dynamic services economy generates the largest services trade in the world, with exports of $606 billion dollars in 2011 and a trade surplus of $179 billion. Services supplied abroad by U.S. affiliates accounted for another $1.1 trillion in revenue in 2010 (latest available data).
Whether it is telecommunications, financial services, computer services, retail distribution, environmental services, audiovisual services, express delivery, or any other services sector, services trade is interconnecting our world, lowering costs for consumers and businesses, enhancing competition and innovation, improving choice and quality, attracting investment, diffusing knowledge and technology, and allowing for the efficient allocation of resources.
Although services are not subject to tariffs, barriers to services trade such as nationality requirements and restrictions on investing generally exceed those for goods. Lowering services barriers will provide a significant payoff for the U.S. and world economy.
Developing countries, which tend to maintain relatively high services trade barriers, have increasingly come to view services liberalization as a key development strategy that will not only help modernize their services infrastructure, but also help unlock the potential of their manufacturing and agricultural sectors.
In its trade negotiations, the United States looks to promote open and transparent trade in services, and to let its world class service providers compete on a level playing field.