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 challenges do I face in exporting my services?

Marketing services differs from marketing goods, mainly because services are intangible and because customers are required to pay (or to promise to pay) in advance, i.e before they can inspect the completed service. Therefore, customers usually seek out recommendations from people they know before trying a new service provider. If your firm is not known in a foreign market, then it is unlikely to get recommended, no matter how good your service is. Some of the things you can do to address major challenges are set out below.

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