U.S. Government Announces New International Services Negotiations
On January 15, 2013, the Obama Administration formally notified Congress that it intends to enter into negotiations to expand global trade in services. Initially, the United States will negotiate with 20 other World Trade Organization (WTO) Members (Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the European Union, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey), which collectively represent two-thirds of global trade in services. The list of participating countries will almost certainly grow over time. The negotiations are expected to begin in April, following a comment period and public hearings.
The new services negotiations offer large growth opportunities for all entities engaged in supplying global services (e.g., express delivery; distribution; professional services; financial services; insurance, banking and brokerage; audio-visual; telecommunications; health care; education; and hospitality services). The United States is the world's largest exporter of services, totaling $1 trillion, including sales through foreign affiliates.