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  • ISSUE 2/2005


  • Business and professional services form more than a third of global service exports - and their share continues to grow.According to the International Monetary Fund, business and professional services have been the fastest-growing sector of world trade from an export earnings perspective since the General Agreement on Trade in Services was launched in 1995, with an average annual growth rate of 7.6%. This compares with growth of 4.9% for goods exports and 3.8% for tourism. Since 1999, the average annual growth rate has risen to 8.9%.

    ITC reviewed its progress in helping countries to supply world markets at the Joint Advisory Group on the International Trade Centre, its annual meeting with beneficiaries and donors (Geneva, 18-22 April). Representatives from 93 developed and developing countries participated in the event, which studies ITC's work in the previous year and sets priorities for the year to come.

    Services contribute to everything a society produces. Even getting goods to market is heavily linked to services. Take, for example, a 5-kilo bag of rice exported from Pakistan to Europe. How does the rice move from the exporter to the consumer?

    Developing country businesses can shape their trade future.What it takes: knowing the market, spotting the barriers and voicing interests in the right channels.

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 2/2005 Photo: ITC/E. Barreto Telecommunications Telecommunications reform in developing countries introduces new market opportunities in information and communications technology services, such as for mobile phone operators, sof

    The world of trade grows ever more competitive. Nonetheless, North and South, people keep turning to trade as a tool for development. Why? Because trade makes a difference to improving the lives of the poor, as we see from our projects. In rural Bolivia, for example, the growing Brazil nut industry is lifting thousands of workers and their families out of poverty, while helping to protect the Amazon rainforest. Halfway around the world, Ghana's new horticultural exports are raising poor farmers' incomes, with expected sales of €30 million in 2005. Initiatives such as these present powerful ways to help fulfil the Millennium Development Goals and Doha Development Agenda expectations.

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 2/2005 Influencing and Meeting International Standards: Challenges for developing countries Vol. 2. 174 pages. Second volume of a joint ITC-Commonwealth Secretariat two-volume study dealing with technical assistance needs of developing

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 2/2005 Influencing and Meeting International Standards: Challenges for developing countries Exchanging Value: Negotiating Technology Licensing Agreements - A Training Manual Road Map for Quality: Guidelines for the Review of the Standardiz

    Debates thrive between African and developed nations over a "MarshallPlan" for Africa, debt cancellation and support for small firms. Toensure competitiveness, Africa's own financial institutions must pointthe way in supporting trade and investment.

    Trade support institutions can promote national strengths in services. This helps firms in their own marketing and improves the country's overall image.

    Because many national strategy-makers and businesses are not aware of the potential of service exports, they do not tap into this growing opportunity. Raising awareness about services is an important first step.

    Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, met ITC officials in April to discuss developing essential-oil exports, inspired by the success of an ITC-facilitated project in neighbouring Burundi.

    In many developing countries, not being taken seriously in the global marketplace is the single greatest barrier to exporting services. Building credibility abroad is the springboard to success.

    Professionals with disabilities are often overlooked in trade, telecommunications and economic development policies. Service providers from this community, however, are using technology to unlock their diverse talents and reach out to new markets.

    Large corporations in the tourism sector are finding that investing in local community development brings healthy returns. An interview with the manager of Hotel Sofitel in Bahia, Brazil, gives an example of corporate social responsibility in practice.

    With over 50 articles on trade in services, this Trade Forum collection has relevant information for export and development strategy-makers, as well as service providers and those who support them.

    ONLINE RESOURCES Have the articles in this issue addressed your needs? Are you looking for more information on specific topics? These resources, from ITC and other organizations, can give you more insight into specific service topics.Services as export and development opportunitiesInternational Trade Centre (ITC)http://www.intracen.org/servicexport/welcome.htm The site for ITC's Trade in Services Section provides technical information and resources to help enterprises, service sector associations and governments boost exports of services.

    ChallengesNational development plans often exclude the service sector. The export strategies of many developing countries focus on goods and overlook opportunities to diversify trade and create jobs through services. Global service markets are growing and offer opportunities in offshoring, professional and tourism services. This is due to technological innovation, such as faster, cheaper telecommunications and lower-cost travel, which makes it easier to market to and reach new customers.

    Study after study shows that services - and service exporting - are generally misunderstood. Creating awareness about service exporters and their needs is the first step to increasing trade in this promising area for developing countries.

    Services players in several developing countries are setting up coalitions for collaboration to boost the sector.

    When you picture "trade", "the world trading system" or "exports", what image springs to mind? You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks of trade in services. The most frequent responses are goods loaded in containers on a ship, boxes on a truck or cargo on a plane. In part, this reflects the relatively recent growth of the service economy in world trade. But that we have such a reaction is also because services are intangible, thus more invisible.This makes service exports a challenge to promote. Exporters sell a "promise", rather than a product that buyers can physically inspect. Selling services hinges on good impressions and referrals that give the buyer confidence. For exporters in developing and transition economies, this can be a real barrier.

    Services are the fastest-growing component of international trade.In recent years, technology advances have had a tremendous impact on the sector as many services can now be marketed and delivered online. However, the service sector is diverse and fragmented and, therefore, difficult to reach.