Boosting Job Creation Through Expanding Services Exports
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There is no issue more pressing for our nation than putting more Americans back to work, and international trade plays a critical role in creating jobs and boosting economic growth.
However, the international playing field is often unfairly tilted against American workers and companies. While the U.S. market is largely open to imports, many other countries continue to levy steep tariffs on U.S. exports, and foreign governments have erected other kinds of barriers against U.S. goods and services.
The challenges and the opportunities we face on the trade agenda are perhaps greatest for our service industries. This sector generates approximately 75% of U.S. economic output and about 80% of U.S. private sector employment. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, service industries employ about 95 million of America’s 111 million private sector workers. Moreover, the service sector employs more than 75% of the workers in every Congressional district across the country. In 2011, U.S. services exports reached $605 billion while the United States once again enjoyed a services trade surplus of more than $179 billion
As a partner of the Global Services Summit that took place yesterday, the U.S. Chamber is highlighting the vital role that this sector plays in our economy. To promote the benefits of expanding U.S. services trade through an international agreement, we are providing testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Trade for a hearing taking place today, and hosting a discussion that brings together key leaders on international trade from around the world. We are working together because we share the belief that liberalizing services trade will benefit all of our economies.
As our testimony to the Ways and Means Committee points out, liberalization of services trade has unfortunately been stuck in the long-dormant Doha Round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations for more than a decade.
But now, a growing number of both developed and developing WTO member countries — including Australia, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, and the United States as well as the European Union, among others — have been exploring different negotiating approaches aimed at liberalizing services. These discussions are aimed at launching negotiations for an International Services Agreement (ISA) among a coalition of interested parties and have been taking place in Geneva since the beginning of the year.
While the talks are still at an early stage, it is very encouraging that these discussions are taking place at all, and there continues to be a great deal of interest in moving forward on a services trade liberalization agenda.
The U.S. Chamber strongly supports the proposed International Services Agreement, which has the potential to strengthen our economic recovery as well as the global rules-based trading system. We are pushing for the ISA to be formally launched as soon as possible, so that expanded services trade can help boost economic growth and job creation not only in the U.S., but across the global economy.