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.

English Spanish, French


What terms of payment should I insist on?

Services exporters typically extend to their customers an open account, meaning that they make deliveries of services before they are paid. This way of doing business is feasible if the buyer is well established, has a long and positive payment record and has been checked for creditworthiness. Some of the largest international firms purchase only on open account terms. Because of the high level of risk associated with this type of arrangement, all the terms of payment should be mutually understood and agreed before a contract is signed. It is advisable to stipulate in your contract the number of days from a specific date on which payment should be made.

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