Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade, 2013 Annual Report

Publication Type: 
Industry & Econ Analysis (332)
Publication Topic: 
Service Industries
Publication Number: 
Investigation No.: 
Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade

The United States was the world's largest services market and the world's leading exporter and importer of services in 2011, reports the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) in its annual review of U.S. trade in services.

This year's report focuses on professional services and includes separate chapters on the education, healthcare, and legal services sectors.

The 2013 report covers cross-border trade in services through 2011 and affiliate sales through 2010 (latest available data). Highlights include:

  • From 2010 to 2011, U.S. cross-border services exports increased by 9 percent (to $587 billion) while U.S. services imports grew by 7 percent (to $393 billion). Professional services accounted for 21 percent of total U.S. cross-border services exports and 19 percent of cross-border imports in 2011.
  • Services supplied abroad by foreign affiliates of U.S. firms continued to exceed services purchased from U.S. affiliates of foreign firms, reaching $1.1 trillion and $696 billion, respectively, in 2010. Professional services accounted for a relatively small but growing share of both sales and purchases of services through affiliates.
  • The contribution of U.S. professional services to U.S. GDP in 2011 was $2.2 trillion, equal to 24 percent of the value added by all services and 19 percent of total private sector GDP. The education, healthcare, and legal services sectors are all projected to post moderate growth in the next few years.
  • Professional services employed 26 million full-time-equivalent employees in 2011, equal to 26 percent of the total U.S. private sector workforce.
  • Professional services are subject to a variety of both entry and operational trade barriers. In many cases, these barriers take the form of domestic regulations and are byproducts of a country's domestic policy objectives such as protecting and developing its indigenous workforce.
  • The USITC hosted its sixth annual services roundtable on November 13, 2012. The discussion, summarized in the report, covered services liberalization and regulation, and prospects for future services trade agreements.

View the report at: