The U.S. is the world’s largest services market and was the world’s leading exporter and importer of services in 2016, according to the International Trade Commission’s latest annual report on trends in U.S. services trade. This year’s report focuses on electronic services and includes chapters on audiovisual services, computer services, and telecommunication services. Each chapter analyzes global market conditions in the industry, examines recent trade performance, and summarizes the industry’s outlook.
Highlights of the report include the following.
- The value of U.S. cross-border commercial services exports was $733.6 billion while imports totaled $483.1 billion. The leading export markets were the UK, China, Canada, Ireland, and Japan, while the largest single-country sources of imports were the UK, Germany, Japan, Canada, and India.
- Sales of services by U.S.-owned foreign affiliates totaled $1.4 trillion in 2015 and the largest markets were the UK, Canada, and Ireland. Purchases from U.S. affiliates of foreign services firms totaled $952.5 billion and the largest shares were from firms based in Japan, the UK, and Germany.
- Electronic services accounted for 12.7 percent of total U.S. cross-border services exports and 11.2 percent of imports in 2016. Value added by the U.S. electronic services sector was $989 billion and the sector accounted for 6.9 percent of U.S. private sector GDP. Electronic services accounted for 3.2 percent of total private sector employment, the sector had an average output of $265,717 per worker, and workers earned an average wage of $106,052.
- Audiovisual services are growing rapidly worldwide and the Chinese market is of growing interest to U.S. filmmakers, though state censorship and foreign film quotas limit market access. - Computer services are becoming widely available via mobile devices in emerging markets and goods manufacturers are increasingly building computer-enabled services into their production processes.