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Lowering Barriers in Other Areas Could Boost Trade in Environmental Services, ITC Says

Thursday, May 02, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The International Trade Commission released May 1 a report finding that while there are few trade barriers that apply specifically to the provision of core environmental services, the removal of barriers affecting related services, including architectural, engineering and construction services, could increase trade in the environmental services sector. The report provides estimates of the U.S. and global markets for, and discusses barriers to, trade and investment in three core environmental services industries: water and wastewater services, solid and hazardous waste management services, and remediation services.

Highlights of the report’s findings include the following.

- Between 2000 and 2010, revenues in the global environmental services market increased by 41% to $505.5 billion. Water and wastewater services accounted for 49% of the market in 2010, solid and hazardous waste services accounted for 32%, and remediation services accounted for 8%.

- The U.S. accounted for the largest share of the global environmental services market in 2010 (38%), followed by Western Europe (28%) and Japan (11%). Developing countries accounted for a very small share of the global market.

- While environmental services markets have grown in recent years due to factors such as population growth, increasing economic activity, regulation and rising environmental awareness, trade continues to account for a very small share of revenues in these markets.

- The U.S. ran persistent trade deficits in water and wastewater services and solid and hazardous waste services from 2000 to 2010. In 2010, these deficits were approximately $2.4 billion and $352 million, respectively. By contrast, the U.S. posted a $245 million trade surplus in remediation services in 2010.

- Trade barriers affecting environmental services primarily include general investment restrictions and measures that impede the provision of related services.

- The reduction of certain regulations on architectural, engineering, electricity and transportation services appears to be associated with a substantial increase in sales by environmental services firms operating abroad.

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