Publication: The Crisis Resilience of Services Trade
The current gloom and doom about goods trade has obscured the quiet resilience of services trade. Services account for over one fifth of global cross-border trade, and for some countries such as India and the United States close to a third of all exports. New data on cross-border trade from the United States reveals that since mid-2008, trade in goods declined drastically but trade in some services is holding up remarkably well. More aggregate data available for other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries also suggests that services trade has suffered less from the crisis than goods trade. Initial evidence suggests that services trade is buoyant relative to goods trade for two reasons: demand for a range of traded services is less cyclical, and services trade and production are less dependent on external finance. If further investigation confirms that trade in certain services is inherently less affected by crises, then these services could play a more prominent role in developing countries' diversification strategies. The apparent resilience of services trade may be jeopardized by protectionism. Even though few explicitly trade-restrictive measures have so far been taken in services, the changing political climate and the widening boundaries of the state in crisis countries could introduce a national bias in firms' choices regarding procurement and the location of economic activity.
“Borchert, Ingo; Mattoo, Aaditya. 2009. The Crisis Resilience of Services Trade. PREM Notes; No. 135. © World Bank, Washington, DC. http://openknowledge.worldbank.org/entities/publication/ef5fd7fe-7c8f-535c-b8f0-692a17b69566 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”