This paper was prepared for the Markle Economic Future Initiative.
The world, led by a number of fast-growing developing countries, is undertaking a building and construction boom of historic proportions. It is estimated that over the next 25 years, as much as $40 trillion will be spent on infrastructure of all types worldwide, more than 80 percent of which will take place outside of the United States. In addition, because of urbanization and middle class growth in population-dense countries like China, Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa there is an increased demand for new and better services, including health care, transportation, and entertainment. These trends in global development represent a potential surge in demand for business services, ranging from architecture, engineering and planning, to health care, logistics, finance and insurance. American companies, with their strong global reputation for expertise and high concentration of skilled workers, are competitive when it comes to delivering these services. As a result, there is a large – and largely underexploited – opportunity to expand the exporting activities of American service firms.
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