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 is ‘quality’ in services?

Quality is a subjective term for which each person has his or her own definition. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines quality as the ‘degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfils requirements’. A note on the definition states that the term ‘quality’ can be used with adjectives such as ‘poor’, ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. Another note explains that ‘inherent’, as opposed to ‘assigned’, means existing in something, especially as a permanent characteristic. Many experts in this field believe that the only acceptable level of quality for any product or service is 100%.

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