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Trade in Services

An Answer Book for Small and Medium-Sized Exporters

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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 is the World Trade Organization?

The World Trade Organization (WTO) came into existence on 1 January 1995. Created as a result of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, which took place between 1986 and 1994, it oversees the multilateral trading system embodied in the WTO Agreements. As of August 2001, it had 142 member countries (accounting for over 90% of world trade) and 31 observers in the process of negotiating membership. About 100 of the member countries are from the developing world. In its preamble, the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization lists the WTO’s objectives as follows:

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