The United States will kick off multilateral trade talks on service sectors with key countries and economic blocs including Korea, China, Japan and the European Union, the country’s top trade representative Ron Kirk said Tuesday.
“The negotiations will begin in Geneva, Switzerland, with a group of 20 trading partners who represent nearly two-thirds of global trade in services,” he said in a statement.
The trade chief had also sent his notification to U.S. Congress earlier in the day.
The related talks are to begin within 90 days, and the number of negotiating parties could still increase by then, he said.
While negotiations in the World Trade Organization’s Doha round remained sluggish, the U.S. has been seeking alternative ways to lower trade barriers, especially in financial services and telecommunications.
“If business services achieved the same export potentials as manufactured goods, U.S. exports could soar by as much as $800 billion per year,” Kirk said.
“Also, for every $1 billion rise in exports, 4,200 additional jobs could be created in the domestic market.”
However, the multilateral service trade deal, which the U.S. refers to as the International Service Agreement, is not likely to greatly affect the Korean economy.
“Korea has already opened its market to major trade partners through free trade agreements and will not be subject to visible changes,” said a Trade Ministry official in Seoul.
Studies have shown that Korea’s gross domestic product will rise by 0.6 percent or $8.4 billion over the next 12 years, should the service pact be concluded, he added.
“The intent of this U.S.-initiated multilateral deal is to involve other states in this flow of trade openness and to form a global consensus,” he said.
By Bae Hyun-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org