May 28, 2014
News Release 14-051
Inv. No. 332-345
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819
U.S. SERVICE PROVIDERS REMAIN COMPETITIVE IN GLOBAL SERVICES MARKET,
The United States is the world's largest services market and was the world's leading exporter and
importer of services in 2012, reports the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) in its new
publication Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade, 2014 Annual Report.
The USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, compiles the report annually.
Each year's report presents a qualitative and quantitative overview of U.S. trade in services and
highlights some of the service sectors and geographic markets that contribute substantially to
recent services trade performance.
This year's report focuses on electronic services and includes chapters on three specific industries:
audiovisual services, computer services, and telecommunication services. Each chapter analyzes
global market conditions in the industry, examines recent trade performance, and summarizes the
The report describes trade in services via cross-border transactions through 2012 and via affiliate
sales through 2011 (latest available data). Highlights include:
- In 2012, the value of U.S. commercial services exports was $621 billion (14 percent of
global services exports), while imports totaled $411 billion (10 percent of global
- From 2011 to 2012, U.S. cross-border services exports rose 5 percent (down from
nearly 11 percent in 2011), while U.S. services imports grew 4 percent (down from 7
percent in 2011). Electronic services accounted for 7 percent of exports and 8 percent
of imports, yielding a trade surplus of $7.1 billion in this subsector in 2012.
- Within the services sector, sales by foreign affiliates of U.S. firms -- the leading channel
by which many U.S. services are delivered to foreign markets -- rose by a robust 11
percent to $1.3 trillion in 2011. Electronic services accounted for $193 billion, or 15
percent, of the total.
- The contribution of private sector electronic services to U.S. gross domestic product
(GDP) was $822.1 billion in 2012, accounting for roughly 6 percent of total U.S.
private sector GDP. The output of these services grew by nearly 7 percent in 2012,
outpacing total GDP growth in the private sector (3 percent). After slower growth
during the previous five years, two industries within electronic services -- computer
systems design and related services, and data processing and information services -- had
the fastest GDP growth in 2012 (about 13 percent each).
- In 2012, electronic services accounted for only about 3 percent of total private sector
employment, or 3.3 million full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. Employment in
computer systems design and related services and in broadcasting and
telecommunication services together represented 81 percent of this total, whereas
employment in information and data processing services, along with motion picture and
sound recording services, together accounted for the remaining 19 percent. Electronic
services were the most productive U.S. sector in 2012, with an average output per
worker of $249,802.
- A variety of impediments restrict trade in electronic services. Two examples include
localization requirements for computer servers and online privacy protection measures
that restrict cross-border data flows (such as those in the European Union). In addition,
limits on foreign investment and on competition are prominent in several countries'
telecommunication sectors, where former monopolies limit access to domestic
networks. Noteworthy barriers affecting audiovisual services trade include quotas on
imported films in such markets as France and China; Internet piracy of copyrighted
intellectual property; and censorship.
- The USITC hosted its seventh annual services roundtable on November 14, 2013. The
discussion, summarized in the report, focused on recent services negotiations and the
assessment of services commitments in international trade agreements, as well as
middle-income job opportunities for non-degree holders in service industries.
Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade, 2014 Annual Report (Investigation No. 332-345, USITC
publication 4463, April 2014) is available on the USITC's Internet site at
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