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What They’re Saying: Entering Negotiations for an International Services Trade Agreement

Members of Congress and stakeholders are voicing their support for President Obama’s decision to enter negotiations for an international services trade agreement (ISA). In a letter to Congressional leaders last week, Ambassador Kirk described the Administration’s intent to enter negotiations aimed at promoting international trade in services and supporting increased U.S. service exports and jobs. Below is a sampling of what others are saying so far – check back for periodic updates.

“The U.S. leads the world in exporting services – and to stay competitive, we need to keep it that way. As the global economy evolves, services exports like tourism and transportation must be an important part of our trade agenda to create jobs and strengthen our economy here at home.”

- Sen. Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance

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“American service companies are the most competitive in the world, and they face a range of barriers in foreign countries that must be addressed. I am encouraged that countries committed to services trade liberalization have come together to negotiate a new services agreement. I look forward to working with the Administration to ensure that this agreement ends critical services market access barriers so we can continue to expand opportunities for U.S. exports and, most importantly, create new, good-paying jobs here at home.”

- Sen. Orrin Hatch, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance

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“The ISA is a critical trade priority for me because it holds great promise for job creation in all sectors of the U.S. economy, including manufacturing and agriculture, as well as services, and can help rebuild momentum for a global agenda of trade liberalization. I am impressed with the group of 21 WTO members thus far that plan to join the negotiations, representing dynamic developing and developed markets for U.S. exports. We must now get about the work of reducing the substantial barriers that U.S. services exporters face around the globe.”

- Rep. Dave Camp, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means

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“I am encouraged that the United States will be negotiating an International Services Agreement with other interested WTO Members,” said Ways and Means Ranking Member Sander Levin. “The U.S. services market is already one of the most open markets in the world, and our service suppliers are among the most competitive in the world. The purpose of the negotiation must be to make progress that eluded the Doha Round discussions in ensuring reciprocal market access abroad for U.S. service suppliers. It can help to establish new rules to address critical emerging issues, such as the trade-distorting actions of state-owned enterprises. This Administration has played a leadership role in steering the WTO away from a dead-end and the ISA is one example of that leadership.”

- Rep. Sander Levin, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means

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“I strongly support an ambitious ISA. The ISA is an unparalleled opportunity to reduce global barriers to U.S. services exports, and I want to see strong commitments across the full spectrum of services. Around 80 percent of U.S. jobs are in our services sector, and these jobs pay well, so every time we increase the global market for this large sector’s exports, we create many new, well-paying U.S. jobs. In addition, an efficient global market for services is critical to allowing U.S. agricultural and manufacturing exporters to design, develop, market, finance, insure, transport, install, repair, and provide administrative and computing support for U.S. exports.”

- Rep. Devin Nunes, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade

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“Services are vital to the future of the U.S. economy and prosperity of American workers. We are pleased that the United States is ready to fight for new trade rules to enable the services sector to achieve its potential as the engine of our economy.”

- Peter Allgeier, Coalition of Service Industries President

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“We applaud today’s announcement by USTR and support efforts to negotiate an ambitious agreement that opens up growing international markets for the range of services provided by U.S. companies. Given the importance of services to the U.S. economy as well as to U.S. manufacturing, the successful implementation of an International Services Agreement would help to maximize U.S. economic growth and job creation.”

- Doug Oberhelman, Chairman & CEO, Caterpillar Inc., and Chair of the Business Roundtable’s International Engagement Committee

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“The International Services Agreement will be an economic boost for the U.S. and the world economy. It will create new markets for U.S. exporters and generate a host of business and job opportunities from coast to coast. U.S. services companies have seen trade and regulatory barriers multiply in ways that could not be foreseen two decades ago when the General Agreement on Trade in Services was negotiated. This is a chance to tackle emerging trade barriers in areas such as the digital economy while strengthening the global rules-based trading system.”

- Myron Brilliant, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Senior Vice President for International Affairs

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“We welcome today’s announcement and applaud the Administration’s pursuit of an agreement that will help to maximize the competitiveness of U.S. services companies and support U.S. job creation. With the services sector accounting for four out of five American jobs and nearly 70 percent of U.S. GDP, expanding services trade through an ISA is central to U.S. economic growth. We commend the Administration for making this important agreement a priority early in the New Year.”

- Bill Reinsch, President of the National Foreign Trade Council

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"The American services sector generates more than 75 percent of national economic output and provides 80 percent of the jobs in the country, making it imperative that the U.S. government support commercially meaningful trade agreements that allow U.S. companies to compete on a level playing field in the world marketplace. At this critical point in the global economic recovery, it is essential that the U.S. continue to be a leader in trade negotiations."

- Dan Brutto, UPS International President

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“International services markets remain heavily restricted and U.S. service suppliers face a wide range of barriers to doing business in overseas markets. A new agreement to liberalize services trade would be a much-needed boost to our economic recovery, particularly at a time when growth opportunities are scarce."

- Michael Ducker, Chief Operating Officer and President of FedEx Express International

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"IBM enthusiastically welcomes the U.S. decision to join global services trade talks in Geneva. Global markets present tremendous growth opportunities for IBM, and services are the largest component of IBM’s business. The United States stands to gain significantly from a new trade agreement that eliminates services trade barriers around the world. IBM looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration on this opportunity to continue driving innovation and economic competitiveness."

- Christopher Padilla, Vice President, Governmental Programs, IBM

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