WASHINGTON, June 18 The outline of an
international trade deal opening up services markets is in
place, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said on
Wednesday, ahead of the next round of negotiations next week.
The Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), which seeks to free
up trade in services such as communications and banking, is
being negotiated among 50 countries that make up nearly
two-thirds of global services trade.
"The basic framework of the agreement is in place, initial
market access offers have been exchanged, and sector-specific
work in areas like telecommunications and financial services is
in full swing," Froman said, while cautioning there was still a
lot of work to do.
Issues that come under the umbrella of TISA range from
cross-border data flows and monopolies by state-owned
enterprises to air pollution monitoring, shipping and postal
In the United States, services account for 75 percent of
economic output and 80 percent of private sector jobs; in the
European Union, they account for almost 75 percent of gross
domestic product and employment.
But their importance in trade is often under-estimated.
The hidden value of services can be almost as much again as raw
services export figures suggest, according to calculations from
the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Organisation of
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Taking into account the value added by services such as
transport, logistics, finance and communication, the services
sector contributes around half the value of total exports in the
United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy.
In China, where services make up only about 10 percent of
gross exports, services value-added amounts are worth nearly
one-third of the total.
The WTO estimates that services account for more than 40
percent of world trade, if measured in value-added terms, and
two-thirds of the world's foreign direct investment stock.
In 2009, the last year for which value-added data is
available, services exports from the Group of Seven advanced
economies totaled $1.36 trillion.
But the OECD and WTO data show the value added to all G7
exports from services was more than $1 trillion on top of that,
or $2.52 trillion in total.
Assuming no major changes since then, the value that
services added to G7 exports in 2013 would be about $3.72
trillion, compared with gross services exports of $1.88
The seventh round of TISA talks will take place next week,
involving the European Union, the United States, Australia,
Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan,
South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay,
Pakistan, Peru, Switzerland and others.
An official close to the talks said there was no timeline
for completing TISA. All but two participants had put up market
access offers, he said.
(Reporting by Elvina Nawaguna and Krista Hughes; Editing by Ken