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Washington, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk notified the U.S. Congress this morning of the Obama Administration’s intent to enter into negotiations for a new trade agreement on international trade in services. The negotiations will begin in Geneva, Switzerland, with a group of 20 trading partners, who represent nearly two-thirds of global trade in services, with the objective of promoting international trade in services and supporting increased U.S. service exports and jobs. Ambassador Kirk noted in a letter to lawmakers that a recent study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics estimated that even though the United States is the world’s largest services trader, tradable services are still five times less likely to be exported than manufactured products.
“Every $1 billion in U.S. services exports supports an estimated 4,200 U.S. jobs in America. Service industries employ workers in every congressional district across the United States, and approximately three out of every four American workers nationwide,” wrote Ambassador Kirk. “If business services achieved the same export potential as manufactured goods globally, U.S. exports could increase by as much as $800 billion. To begin to realize this potential, we need to surmount a range of barriers that lock out, constrain, or disrupt the international supply of services. An ambitious, high-standard international services agreement presents a tremendous opportunity to remove these impediments and boost U.S. economic growth and support additional jobs.”
In 2011, the United States had a $178.5 billion surplus in services trade worldwide.