US Export Services

US Export Services

How to Export Services from the US: A Comprehensive Guide

If you are a service provider in the US, you might be wondering how to export your services to other countries and expand your market. Exporting services is not as straightforward as exporting goods, but it can be a lucrative and rewarding option for your business. In this article, we will explain what exporting services means, what are the benefits and challenges of doing so, and how to get started with the process.

What is Exporting Services?

Exporting services means providing a service to a foreign client or customer, either remotely or in person. For example, you might export services if you:

  • Design a website or an app for a client in another country
  • Teach an online course or provide coaching to students abroad
  • Perform legal, accounting, or consulting work for a foreign firm
  • Travel to another country to provide training, installation, or maintenance services
  • License your software, music, or other intellectual property to a foreign user

According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the US exported $876.8 billion worth of services in 2020, making it the world’s largest service exporter. The top categories of US service exports were:

  • Travel ($80.6 billion)
  • Charges for the use of intellectual property ($80.4 billion)
  • Financial services ($79.9 billion)
  • Other business services ($77.7 billion)
  • Telecommunications, computer, and information services ($49.2 billion)

The top destinations for US service exports were:

  • United Kingdom ($78.3 billion)
  • Canada ($66.7 billion)
  • Ireland ($66.2 billion)
  • China ($56.5 billion)
  • Japan ($45.4 billion)

What are the Benefits of Exporting Services?

Exporting services can offer many benefits for your business, such as:

  • Accessing new markets and customers
  • Increasing your revenue and profitability
  • Diversifying your income sources and reducing risk
  • Enhancing your reputation and credibility
  • Leveraging your competitive advantages and expertise
  • Learning from different cultures and perspectives

What are the Challenges of Exporting Services?

Exporting services can also pose some challenges that you need to be aware of and overcome, such as:

  • Understanding the legal and regulatory requirements of different countries
  • Protecting your intellectual property rights and data security
  • Dealing with language and cultural barriers
  • Managing communication and coordination with foreign clients
  • Adapting your service quality and delivery to different expectations and standards
  • Handling payment and currency issues

How to Get Started with Exporting Services?

If you are interested in exporting your services, here are some steps you can take to prepare and succeed:

1. Conduct market research

Identify the best markets for your service, based on factors such as demand, competition, regulations, costs, and risks. You can use online resources such as the US Commercial Service’s Country Commercial Guides or the International Trade Administration’s Export Solutions to find information and guidance on different markets.

2. Develop a marketing strategy

Define your target audience, value proposition, pricing, distribution channels, and promotion methods for each market. You can use online platforms such as social media, websites, blogs, podcasts, webinars, or online marketplaces to reach potential customers and showcase your portfolio.

3. Establish relationships

Build trust and rapport with your foreign clients by communicating clearly and frequently, providing references and testimonials, offering free trials or samples, and delivering on your promises. You can also leverage your existing network of contacts or join trade associations or chambers of commerce to find referrals and partners.

4. Deliver your service

Ensure that you meet or exceed your client’s expectations by providing high-quality service, following best practices, complying with local laws and regulations, and resolving any issues promptly. You can use online tools such as cloud-based software, video conferencing, project management systems, or e-signature platforms to facilitate your service delivery.

5. Get paid

Choose the best payment method for your service, such as wire transfer, credit card, PayPal, or escrow service. You can also use online platforms such as Veem or TransferWise to send and receive money internationally with lower fees and better exchange rates. You should also consider the tax implications of exporting your service and consult a professional if needed.

US Export Services: Trends and Statistics

The United States is a major exporter of services, providing various types of services to foreign markets, such as travel, education, financial, intellectual property, and telecommunications. In this post, we will look at some of the recent trends and statistics of US export services, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and other sources.

US Export Services in 2022

According to the BEA, US exports of services were $928.5 billion in 2022, a 15.6% increase from 2020, when they were $802.6 billion. This reflects the recovery of the global economy from the COVID-19 pandemic, which severely affected the demand for services in 2020. The largest categories of US export services in 2022 were:

  • Travel: $163.8 billion (17.6% of total)
  • Other business services: $158.5 billion (17.1% of total)
  • Charges for the use of intellectual property: $131.9 billion (14.2% of total)
  • Financial services: $117.4 billion (12.6% of total)
  • Telecommunications, computer, and information services: $66.7 billion (7.2% of total)

The BEA also reports that services supplied to foreign persons through foreign affiliates of US multinational enterprises (MNEs) were $1,649.7 billion in 2020, the latest year for which statistics are available. This means that affiliates supplied most of the services provided to foreign persons by the United States in 2020.

US Trade Balance in Services

The United States has a trade surplus in services, meaning that it exports more services than it imports. In 2022, the trade surplus in services was $231.8 billion, up from $194.5 billion in 2020. The trade surplus in services helps to offset the trade deficit in goods, which was $910.5 billion in 2022, up from $877.1 billion in 2020.

The trade balance in services varies by region and country. According to the BEA, the regions with which the United States had the largest trade surpluses in services in 2022 were:

  • Europe: $100.8 billion
  • Latin America and Other Western Hemisphere: $54.9 billion
  • Asia and Pacific: $50.4 billion

The countries with which the United States had the largest trade surpluses in services in 2022 were:

  • United Kingdom: $34.9 billion
  • Ireland: $25.8 billion
  • Japan: $24.3 billion
  • Canada: $23.3 billion
  • China: $21.4 billion

US export services are an important component of the US economy and its international trade relations. They have shown resilience and growth in the aftermath of the pandemic, contributing to the US trade surplus in services and its global competitiveness.


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