July 6, 2009
News Release 09-049
Inv. No. 332-345
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819
United States Has World's Biggest Services Market and Remains Leading Services Exporter, Importer
U.S. service firms led the world in global services trade in 2007, reports the U.S. International
Trade Commission (USITC) in its publication Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade, 2009
The United States remains the world's largest services market and also the world's leading
exporter and importer of services, according to the report.
The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, compiles the report annually.
The report presents a statistical overview of U.S. trade in services and highlights the service
sectors and geographic markets that contributed substantially to recent services trade
This year's report focuses primarily on professional services and includes separate chapters on
advertising, education, healthcare, and legal services that analyze global competitive conditions
in the industry, examine recent trade performance, and summarize efforts to remove sectoral
The 2009 report covers trade in services from 2002 to 2007. Highlights of the report follow.
- The United States continues to have the largest services trade surplus of any country in
the world, and professional services were major contributors to the growing U.S. services
- Sales of services by U.S. parent firms' affiliates abroad continue to grow, reflecting the
importance to many U.S. service sectors, including professional services, of expanding a
commercial presence abroad.
- U.S. professional services' contribution to GDP in 2007 was large, reaching $1.7 trillion,
or 17 percent of the U.S. private-sector GDP. Employment in U.S. professional service
industries stood at about 25 million in that year.
- Several factors have created new opportunities for U.S. professional service suppliers in
overseas markets. Economic growth in emerging economies such as China and India has
spurred demand for professional services such as advertising and legal services as more
local businesses seek to enter and compete in new markets. Technological advancements,
such as the proliferation of the Internet and digital video and telecommunications
equipment, have allowed healthcare service providers to reach more consumers at lower
cost through telemedicine. Government policies that provide tax incentives and liberalize
visa regimes have promoted foreign direct investment in local education systems.
- Unilateral efforts to liberalize impediments to services trade and reduce government
intervention in the regulation of professional services continue to have a favorable impact
on the expansion of professional services trade.
- The report includes a summary of the Commission's second annual services roundtable,
which was held on December 4, 2008. The roundtable drew participation from services
experts within industry, government, and academia. The discussion focused on the
financial crisis of 2008, the prospects for liberalization under the World Trade
Organization's General Agreement on Trade in Services, and other liberalization efforts.
Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade, 2009 Annual Report (Investigation No. 332-345, USITC
publication 4084, July 2009) is available on the USITC's Internet site at
http://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/pub4084.pdf. A CD-ROM of the report may be requested
by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 202-205-2000, or writing the Office of the Secretary,
U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests may
also be faxed to 202-205-2104.
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