Washington – Business Roundtable (BRT), an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies, welcomed today’s announcement by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) that the United States will seek to begin plurilateral negotiations with other nations on an International Services Agreement (ISA) to help facilitate greater trade in services. BRT supports the pursuit of an ambitious ISA as a means to boost U.S. economic growth and jobs.
“We applaud today’s announcement by USTR and support efforts to negotiate an ambitious agreement that opens up growing international markets for the range of services provided by U.S. companies,” said Doug Oberhelman, Chairman & CEO, Caterpillar Inc., and Chair of BRT’s International Engagement Committee. “Given the importance of services to the U.S. economy as well as to U.S. manufacturing, the successful implementation of an International Services Agreement would help to maximize U.S. economic growth and job creation.”
The United States already enjoys a large trade surplus in the services sector, which includes business, professional, telecommunications, e-commerce, information, technical, insurance and financial services. According to January 2013 U.S. Commerce Department figures, U.S. services exports in November 2012 totaled $36.3 billion, providing a $17.0 billion services trade surplus for just that one month. Research on expanding services trade has consistently found that such new liberalization will help increase U.S. services exports by billions of dollars and also help U.S. manufacturers compete in world markets.
BRT continues to focus on additional key U.S. trade and investment priorities for job and economic growth, including continued pursuit of other strategic trade initiatives like the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership talks and a proposed Trans-Atlantic Partnership; providing the President with new and updated international trade and investment negotiating authority; advancing negotiations on Bilateral Investment Treaties with key trading partners, including China and India; constructive engagement with China and other emerging growth countries; and updating outdated U.S. export controls.