U.S. starts trade talks on services with 20 nations

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U.S. starts trade talks on services with 20 nations

The Obama administration announced yesterday that it will kick off multilateral talks on trade in the service sector that involve Korea, the European Union and 18 other nations.

“The negotiations will begin in Geneva, Switzerland, with a group of 20 trading partners, who represent nearly two-thirds of global trade in services, with the objective of promoting international trade in services and supporting increased U.S. service exports and jobs,” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement.

He notified Congress of the plan earlier in the day.

The U.S. is seeking to lower barriers especially on trade of financial services and telecommunications.

Its dialogue partners also include Japan, Australia, Hong Kong and the European Union.

“Every $1 billion in U.S. services exports supports an estimated 4,200 U.S. jobs in America. Service industries employ workers in every congressional district across the United States, and approximately three out of every four American workers nationwide,” Kirk was quoted as saying in a letter to lawmakers.

If business services achieved the same export potential as manufactured goods globally, he added, U.S. exports could increase by as much as $800 billion.

“To begin to realize this potential, we need to surmount a range of barriers that lock out, constrain or disrupt the international supply of services,” Kirk said.

The U.S. has a bilateral free trade agreement with Korea that also covers the service field. Yonhap
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