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French Equivalent: Échanges internationaux de services

Before the publication of the Trade in Services Manual, the conventional statistical meaning of international trade in services was that described in the IMF Balance of Payments Manual, Fifth edition (BPM5), which defines international trade in services as being between residents and non-residents of an economy. This also corresponds very closely to the concept of trade in services in the “rest of the world” account of the 1993 System of National Accounts. Such trade is described in Chapter III of this Manual.

This concept of international trade in services combines with the concept of international trade in goods, to form international trade in goods and services in the BPM5 current account. But, it is not always practical to separate trade in goods from trade in services. Services differ from goods in a number of ways, most commonly in the immediacy of the relationship between supplier and consumer. Many services are non-transportable; i.e. they require the physical proximity of supplier and customer, for example, the provision of a hotel service requires that the hotel is where the customer wishes to stay, a cleaning service for a business must be provided at the site of the business, and a haircut requires that both hairstylist and client be present. For international trade in such non-transportable services to take place, either the consumer must go the supplier or the supplier must go to the consumer. International trade agreements concerning services, in particular those embodied in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), make provision for agreement on suppliers moving to the country of the consumer.

To reflect this type of trade, the Manual extends the definition of international trade in services to include the value of services provided through foreign affiliates established abroad, described here as Foreign Affiliates Trade in Services (FATS). Services are also supplied by individuals located abroad, either as service suppliers themselves or employed by service suppliers including those in the host country. A large part of this type of trade in services is covered by the BPM5 and FATS frameworks.

Source Publication:
Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services, Eurostat, IMF, OECD, UN, UNCTAD, WTO, 2002, page 18



Statistical Theme: International trade statistics - International trade in services

Created on Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Last updated on Tuesday, June 11, 2013