International Trade: Current Government Data Provide Limited Insight into Offshoring of Services

GAO-04-932 Published: Sep 22, 2004. Publicly Released: Sep 22, 2004.
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Much attention has focused on the topic of "offshoring" of information technology (IT) and other services to lower-wage locations abroad. "Offshoring" of services generally refers to an organization's purchase from other countries of services that it previously produced or purchased domestically, such as software programming or telephone call centers. GAO was asked to (1) describe the nature of offshoring activities and the factors that encourage offshoring, (2) discuss what U.S. government data show about the extent of this practice by the private sector and federal and state governments, and (3) discuss available data on the potential effects of services offshoring on the U.S. economy.

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