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Service industries account for over two-thirds of U.S. GDP and four out of five private-sector U.S. jobs. In 2017, U.S. cross-border exports of services measured $798 billion and generated a surplus of $255 billion. Foreign affiliates of U.S. companies generated an additional $1.5 trillion in sales in 2016 (most recent data available), bringing foreign sales of services by U.S. companies to more than $2.2 trillion.
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.