The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers, today commended the U.S. Congress for approving Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Panama, Colombia and South Korea. ESA said that these new agreements will boost video game industry exports and improve our nation’s economic health.
“ESA commends members of the House and Senate for approving free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association. “These agreements mean greater market access and product protection for U.S. entertainment software publishers, which in turn boosts exports, opens prospects for new markets and grows high-paying jobs.”
The video game industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of our nation’s economy and experts expect that trend to continue. From 2005-2009 the industry’s real rate of growth was more than seven times the real rate of growth for the entire U.S. economy. Computer and video game companies posted strong overall sales in 2010 with revenues of more than $25 billion. Currently, video game companies directly and indirectly employ more than 120,000 people in 34 states. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the North American video game market will continue growing by approximately five percent annually through 2015.
As much as a third of a game publisher’s revenue can come from export sales. However, many markets remain inaccessible to the industry because of high piracy rates and other market access barriers, such as prohibitively high tariffs on game consoles and software. The FTAs, passed by Congress, open new markets to game industry products and investments. They also set high standards of intellectual property protection and enforcement, and create clear rules for e-commerce and trade of digital products. By approving these FTAs, Congress took an important step to helping the entertainment software industry create new U.S.-based jobs for highly skilled Americans.