Expanding Trade through Services

May 21, 2012

John Miller is an International Trade Specialist for retail, direct marketing and cold chain issues in the Export Facilitation Services Team of the Office of Service Industries.

Services are critical to trade and the U.S. economy; they provide the design, development, implementation and distribution functions critical to the manufacturing sectors in the U.S. that are expanding the country’s export capabilities and to U.S. competitiveness in the global economy. In 2011, services activities in the U.S. accounted for nearly 80 percent of private sector Gross Domestic Product and 82 percent of all private sector employment. Employment in the U.S. services sectors is very diverse and can range from architecture and other professional services to education and media, from express delivery and logistics to business process services on a global basis, to name just a few. Global trade in services is growing rapidly. Services comprised 29 percent of total U.S. exports and totaled $608 billion in 2011, posting a trade surplus of $178 billion. The U.S. is both the top exporter and the top importer of services in the world. Pie chart showing shares of U.S. private sector GDP in 2011. Services is 79% of GDP, while Manufacturing is 14%, Construction is 4%, Mining is 2% and Agriculture is 1%

As an advocate for the development of U.S. service industries in international trade, the Commerce Department’s Office of Service Industries works closely with the private sector to expand their exports and with other U.S. government agencies to improve foreign market access for U.S. companies. We provide Commerce and Government agencies expert guidance on industry analysis, competitiveness, trade policy and negotiations across a broad range of service industries. We provided critical industry information for the development of the Colombia, Panama, and Korea trade promotion agreements, and our active engagement in trade talks like the Trans-Pacific Partnership ensures that the market access interests of the services sector are taken into account.

Currently, we have a number of projects under way to expand services trade worldwide. Our Export Facilitation Services Team is putting the finishing touches on a senior-level advisory committee on supply chain competitiveness issues. The committee will advise the Secretaries of Commerce and Transportation on issues involving freight policy development to reduce congestion delays and lower costs for U.S. businesses operating within the U.S. and trading goods and services worldwide.

We are also working with manufacturers, operators and users of temperature-controlled warehousing, transportation and distribution to expand safe exporting of temperature-sensitive products to emerging economies including China, India and Brazil.  This project has the potential to increase demand for U.S. manufactured cold transportation and warehouse equipment while doubling agriculture exports.  Find out more about the Export Facilitation Services Team and how we are working to increase U.S. services exports through our website.

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