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New International Services Agreement Could Liberate US Retailers

Within the next 90 days, the US will enter negotiations for a new international services agreement with 20 trading partners, including the EU, Australia, Canada, and China. The new agreement will impact service providers–including engineers, architects, accountants, health care providers, and transportation companies–and will likely herald major changes for the retail industry.

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk told Congress that if the US can increase its export of services, job creation will follow–“Every $1 billion in US services exports supports an estimated 4,200 US jobs in America,” he said. Kirk explained the US’s goal in the negotiations should be to “surmount a range of barriers that lock out, constrain or disrupt the international supply of services,” which will “boost US economic growth and support additional jobs.”

Erik Autor, VP and international trade counsel at the National Retail Federation, Women’s Wear Daily that “Retailers welcome the launching of negotiations on a services agreement.” Autor explained that as US retailers expand internationally, a less restricted services agreement–one that allows more liberal investment by retailers–becomes increasingly paramount.