December 18, 1998
News Release 98-097
TELECOMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT EXPORTS SPURRED
BY U.S. PRODUCTIVITY GAINS AND GROWING INVESTMENT
IN TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE,
REPORTS ITC STAFF RESEARCH STUDY
U.S. exports of telecommunications equipment nearly doubled during 1993-97, reflecting U.S.
competitiveness in global markets, strong increases in labor productivity, and growing
investment in infrastructure by telecommunications service providers, according to
Telecommunications Equipment: U.S. Performance in Selected Major Markets, a new staff
research study by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) Office of Industries.
The staff research study assesses the performance of the telecommunications equipment
industry in the global market as a whole and in seven major U.S. export markets: the European
Union (EU), Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, China, and Taiwan. The structure of the
domestic industry is examined in each of these markets as well as trade, trade agreements,
nontariff barriers, and market developments.
The study reflects research conducted in the agency's Office of Industries. The views and
conclusions expressed in the staff research paper do not necessarily reflect the views of the
International Trade Commission or any individual Commissioner.
Following are highlights of the report:
- U.S. production of telecommunications equipment steadily grew from $36 billion to
$61 billion during 1993-97, the period covered by the report, and its share of the
rapidly expanding global market increased from 31 percent to 33 percent. The EU's
share decreased from 29 percent to 28 percent during that time, and Japan's share
increased from 20 percent to 21 percent.
- U.S. exports of sector equipment nearly doubled during 1993-97, reaching
$13.1 billion. Expanding global demand and increasing U.S. competitiveness has
allowed the United States to maintain a trade surplus in this sector since 1994. This
surplus reached $3 billion in 1997.
- Increased automation, faster assembly equipment, and wider use of computers in the
production process in recent years have significantly increased productivity and
enhanced the competitiveness of the U.S. industry. Productivity gains during 1993-97
allowed U.S. output of communications equipment to increase 70 percent while the
workforce expanded only 7 percent.
- Computer-telephony integration (CTI), the interconnection of computers via the
telecommunications network, is one of the fastest growing segments of the
telecommunications equipment industry. U.S. companies such as Cisco, Bay
Networks, and 3Com, which produce CTI-related equipment, experienced very strong
growth during recent years and have become global industry leaders in products related
- The market for wireless communications equipment also expanded rapidly during 1993-
97 and accounted for an increasing share of U.S. production, although the success of
the largest U.S. producers has been mixed. U.S. producers of wireless equipment such
as Lucent and Qualcomm significantly increased their share of this market segment
during the period, while Motorola's market share decreased.
Telecommunications Equipment: U.S. Performance in Selected Major Markets (Staff Research
Study 24, USITC publication 3150, December 1998) will be available on the ITC's Internet
server at www.usitc.gov. The study will also be available at regional federal depository
libraries in the United States. To request a printed copy, contact the Office of the Secretary,
U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington DC 20436. Requests
may be made by fax to 202-205-2104.
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