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U.S. Services Exports and Imports Up in 2014

Monday, October 24, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The International Trade Commission’s annual report on trends in U.S. services trade finds that the U.S. is the world's largest services market and was the world’s leading exporter and importer of services in 2014. This 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 financial services and includes chapters on banking, insurance, and securities services. Each chapter analyzes global market conditions in the industry, examines recent trade performance, and summarizes the industry’s outlook.

Highlights of this year’s report include the following.

- In 2014, the value of U.S. commercial services exports was $690.1 billion (up 4.2 percent from 2013 and representing 14 percent of the global total) while imports totaled $453.3 billion (up 5.1 percent and accounting for 9 percent of the global total). Preliminary data for 2015 indicate that U.S. commercial services exports were up 5.9 percent and that imports were up 3.0 percent.

- From 2013 to 2014 U.S. cross-border services exports rose nearly 4 percent while imports grew 3 percent. Financial services accounted for 15 percent of exports and 15 percent of imports, resulting in a trade surplus of $35.1 billion in this subsector in 2014.

- 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 3 percent to just over $1.3 trillion in 2013. Financial services accounted for about 20 percent of total sales by U.S.-owned foreign affiliates.

- Financial services are facing significant challenges from digital technologies and in navigating the post-recessionary financial landscape of increased regulation and low interest rates. U.S. financial services firms have adapted by incorporating new financial technologies into their operations but also face rising cybersecurity risks. In addition, the growth of the Chinese financial system has increased competition for U.S. banks while at the same time creating an attractive market for U.S. securities firms.

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