Manufacturers applaud Tuesday’s announcement by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) that the Administration plans to join negotiations on an International Services Agreement (ISA). We recognize the importance of promoting and liberalizing international trade in services given the high degree to which manufacturers rely on a wide range of services.
Improved services trade results in lower costs for manufacturing, as well as improved productivity, competitiveness, product quality and safety. International services trade also enables manufactures to comply with regulatory standards, thereby increasing their sales in foreign markets.
Manufacturers depend on a broad array of services, including certification and testing; financial and business, such as investment, accounting, and legal expertise; energy and environmental; engineering and design; information and communications technology; maintenance services, including the installation and servicing of products; retail and distribution; and, transportation and logistics.
Given the importance of services in so many areas to help grow manufacturers’ opportunities overseas, the NAM strongly supports the liberalization of services trade in multilateral, plurilateral, and bilateral negotiations. An ISA would boost trade in services, improving manufacturers’ competitiveness in the global market, expanding U.S. exports, and reducing manufacturers’ costs. The NAM looks forward to monitoring negotiators’ progress on ISA talks to ensure that they provide gains for manufacturers, too.
Jessica Lemos is director of international trade policy, National Association of Manufacturers.