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Technology making it easier to trade in services: WTO

FE Online Report | Published: October 09, 2019 14:33:37 | Updated: October 10, 2019 10:02:09


Services have become the backbone of the global economy and the most dynamic component of international trade, according to the latest report of The World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Trade in services has expanded faster than trade in goods between 2005 and 2017, at 5.4 per cent, the report says adding that value of trade in services stood at US$ 13.3 trillion in 2017.

‘World Trade Report 2019: The future of services trade,’ released by the WTO today (Wednesday), presented the features and observations.

Technology is making it easier to trade in services, added the report.

“Much services trade until recently required producers and consumers to be in physical proximity,” it said. “But in the current services economy, it is becoming significantly easier to trade in services, thanks in large part to digitalization.”

According to the report, distribution and financial services are the most traded services globally.

“Distribution and financial services each account for almost one-fifth of trade in services, while trade in computer services and research and development have recorded the most rapid average annual growth from 2005 to 2017 (above 10 per cent),” it added.

The report critically analysed the different dimensions of the trade in services and outlined a number of challenges. It observed that multilateral as well as bilateral or regional services trade agreements have yet to drive services trade reforms.

The world trade report is an annual publication that ‘aims to deepen understanding about trends in trade, trade policy issues and the multilateral trading system.’

The latest report is 17th of its nature. The first world trade report was published in 2003 which had particularly focused on ‘trade and development.’

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