Services Trade Policies and the Global Economy

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08 June 2017
9789264275270 (EPUB) ; 9789264275232 (PDF) ;9789264274921(print)

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This book synthesises recent work by the OECD analysing services trade policies and quantifying their impacts on imports and exports, the performance of manufacturing and services sectors, and how services trade restrictions influence the decisions and outcomes of firms engaged in international markets. Based on the OECD Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI) - a unique, evidence-based tool that provides snapshots of regulations affecting trade in services in 22 sectors across 44 countries (representing over 80% of global trade in services) - the analysis highlights the magnitude, nature and impact of the costs entailed by restrictive services trade policies. The new evidence uncovered is meant to inform trade policy makers and the private sector about the likely effects of unilateral or concerted regulatory reforms and help prioritise policy action.

Please consult for further information and access to the STRI interactive online tools.

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  • Foreword

    This book synthesises recent work by the OECD on recording, quantifying and analysing services trade policies and their impacts on imports and exports, the performance of manufacturing and services sectors, and how services trade restrictions influence the decisions and outcomes of firms engaged in international markets.

  • Acronyms and glossary
  • Executive summary

    Services generate more than two-thirds of global gross domestic product (GDP), attract over three-quarters of foreign direct investment (FDI) in advanced economies, employ the most workers, and create most new jobs globally. Impediments to global services trade, however, remain pervasive as national trade and regulatory policies in individual services sectors are often made with limited regard for economy-wide impacts.

  • The rise of services in the global economy

    assesses the importance of the services sector within the overall economy. It discusses the role of services in recent macroeconomic outcomes, as well as the marked trend towards manufacturing becoming increasingly services-dependent. The chapter highlights some important megatrends, particularly the digital economy, which is largely supported by the services sector, and discusses the role of establishing appropriate services regulations in order to leverage the digital revolution to strengthen productivity. In light of the significant role that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) play in the economies of most countries, it considers policies in the services field that can facilitate their international development, both through internet platforms and enhanced participation in global value chains (GVCs).

  • The regulatory environment for services

    provides a discussion of services policies, drawing on the STRI indices and database. It starts with a short introduction of the STRI and a brief methodological overview of the project. It then sets out the key STRI findings by country and sector and identifies interlinkages among services along the digital network, the transport and distribution supply chain, market bridging and supporting services and physical infrastructure services. The chapter also presents the reforms to services policies that have been undertaken over the period covered so far by the STRI (2014-16). The analysis is supplemented by short case studies describing concretely how services barriers affect firms’ ability to establish and conduct business in foreign countries.

  • The benefits of open services markets

    presents evidence that services trade impediments severely affect trade, which has wide-ranging consequences for other areas of economic performance. It reviews the findings of recent OECD analysis of the effect of restrictions on services sectors themselves, as well as in downstream industries that use services as intermediate inputs. The chapter also presents initial insights from on-going OECD analysis to develop trade cost equivalents for services barriers. Finally, it reports the preliminary findings of work estimating the value of commitments made in international trade agreements, particularly in terms of enhancing transparency and predictability in trade and investment.

  • Services trade and policy supports inclusive growth

    provides a policy-oriented overview of the main findings set out in previous chapters, providing targeted recommendations on how co-ordinated government-wide strategies to improve services trade policies and regulatory frameworks can support inclusive economic growth, competitiveness, productivity and employment.

  • STRI indices by sector
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