U.S. Remain as World’s Largest Services Exporter

The U.S. remain as the world’s largest cross-border services exporter and importer in 2016, according to a report by U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC). U.S. cross-border services exports totaled $733.6 billion in 2016, and imports totaled $483.1 billion. This resulted in a trade surplus in services of $250.4 billion. As the world’s top exporter of services, the U.S. accounted for 15.2 percent, of global cross-border commercial services exports in 2016. Leading export markets were the UK, China, Canada, Ireland, and Japan, which together accounted for 35.8 percent of U.S. cross-border services exports in 2016.

As in previous years, travel services and passenger fares accounted for the largest share of U.S. services trade, representing 33.4 percent of U.S. services exports and 33.3 percent of imports, while professional services were the second-largest category. Electronic services accounted for 12.7 ($93.4 billion) percent of U.S. cross-border services exports and 11.2 percent ($54.3 billion) of imports in 2016, resulting in a surplus of $39.1 billion. The top markets for U.S. cross-border electronic services exports were the UK, Canada, and Germany for audiovisual services; the UK, Canada, and India for computer services; and Brazil, Argentina, and the UK for telecommunications services.

Audiovisual and related services include movies and television programming, books and sound recordings, and broadcasting and recording of live events. This report’s focus is on the movie industry, which is heavily concentrated. The top two markets—the United States and China— together accounted for 47.9 percent of global box office revenues, which reached $38.6 billion in 2016. The United States was the largest market by box office revenue with $10.3 billion.

USITC’s new publication “Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade, 2018 Annual Report” is available at www.usitc.gov.