Trade in Services

An Answer Book for Small and Medium-Sized Exporters

image of Trade in Services

Services have played an important role in world trade for centuries. However, in the past 40 years, the focus of the services trade has shifted away from facilitating the trade in goods to trading in the services themselves. Dramatic changes in communications and transportation technologies have made this possible. While exporters of goods and services face similar challenges, services exporters have to deal with unique issues, many related to their intangible nature. This guide addresses these issues and offers practical and relevant advice to small and medium-sized enterprises to help them improve their export performance or enter new markets.

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What should I do if my customer fails to pay?

First, you will need to identify the reason for non-payment. It may be as innocuous as a misplaced invoice or bureaucratic delays in accessing foreign exchange. It is therefore important to make a first contact by telephone, email or post with your customer concerning the failure to pay. The best approach to take at this point is politely to assume that your customer has forgotten the payment, which may happen. Do as much as you can yourself to obtain payment, as external methods of collection will cost you money. If the customer refuses to pay because he or she is dissatisfied with the service, you will need to address his or her complaints. You may have to find out whether the dissatisfaction is caused by insufficiency in the provision of the service or whether the customer is simply using it as an excuse not to pay.

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