Home > Changes to U.S. Trade in Services and Comprehensive Restructuring of the International Economic Accounts

Changes to Trade in Services and Comprehensive Restructuring of the International Economic Accounts

In October 2014, BEA published its most detailed statistics on trade in services by type of service and by area and country. The statistics are consistent with the more aggregate statistics included in the comprehensive restructuring and annual revision of the U.S. international transactions accounts, which is discussed here.

Changes in the detailed statistics on U.S. exports and imports of services by type of service and by area and country are discussed below, and an article describing the statistics for all international services, including services supplied through affiliates, is available here.

Changes in Presentations, Definitions, and Classifications

  • The number of major services categories increased from seven to nine. The new categories are: maintenance and repair services n.i.e. (not included elsewhere); transport; travel (for all purposes including education); insurance services; financial services; charges for the use of intellectual property n.i.e.; telecommunications, computer, and information services; other business services; and government goods and services n.i.e.
  • The category other transportation was renamed transport and now includes passenger fares, which is no longer shown as a separate category. However, a monthly series for passenger fares is available on BEA’s Web site at www.bea.gov/newsreleases/international/trade/trad_time_series.xls.
  • The definition of travel was broadened to include health-related and education-related travel and the expenditures on goods and services by border, seasonal, and other short-term workers, all of which were previously included in other private services. To distinguish it from the old measure, the new measure was named travel (for all purposes including education). As with passenger fares, a monthly series for the old definition of travel is available on BEA’s Web site in the file referenced above.
  • Royalties and license fees was renamed charges for the use of intellectual property n.i.e.
  • Maintenance and repair services n.i.e., financial services, and insurance services, all of which were previously included in other private services, are now shown as separate categories.
  • Other business services consists of the remaining components of other private services, including new separate statistics for:
    • Exports and imports of accounting, auditing, and bookkeeping services by area and country
    • Exports and imports of construction by area and country
    • Exports and imports of architectural and engineering services by area and country
  • Transfers under U.S. military agency sales contracts (for exports), direct defense expenditures (for imports), and U.S. government miscellaneous services (for exports and imports) were made part of government goods and services n.i.e. With this change, the detailed tables now provide information on all U.S. trade in services, not just private services.

Other Revisions

  • In addition to the new categories described above, exports and imports of services were revised beginning with statistics for 1999 to incorporate 1) an improved estimation methodology for travel and 2) revised source data on the number of U.S. residents traveling abroad that resulted in revisions to travel (for all purposes including education) exports and imports and to transport imports, which include passenger fares. Statistics beginning with 2011 were also revised to incorporate newly available and revised source data, primarily from BEA’s surveys of international services transactions.

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact BEA’s Balance of Payments Division at InternationalAccounts@bea.gov.