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.

Launched in 2014, the OECD Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI) is a unique, evidence-based tool that provides information on regulations affecting trade in services in 22 sectors across the 35 OECD countries and Brazil, the People’s Republic of China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Lithuania, the Russian Federation and South Africa. These countries and sectors represent over 80% of global trade in services. The STRI provides comprehensive, comparable data and benchmarks relative to global best practices.

The STRI database (, compiling requirements to enter foreign markets in unprecedented detail, provides transparent and readily accessible insights into the restrictions on foreign entry and the movement of people, barriers to competition, regulatory transparency and other discriminatory measures that hamper services trade. It is, therefore, an important reference for exporters and international services providers and a source of data for academic research on drivers and impediments to services trade.

The new evidence presented in this book is meant to inform trade policy makers about the likely effects of unilateral or concerted regulatory reforms and help prioritise policy action. The OECD’s quantification of applied sectoral regulatory regimes, across countries and over time, has opened up new avenues for the analysis of services trade policy – a field that has long suffered from a scarcity of comparable data and indicators.

Taken together, the main findings and key recommendations of this work suggest that national administrations should consider adopting whole-of-government strategies to capitalise on the demonstrated potential of co-ordinated services trade policy and regulatory reforms to help make globalisation work for all. We hope that you find this publication and the STRI tools a useful resource in your quest for a better understanding of services trade, the role of services in global value chains and the policies that shape services markets.