The growth in international trade in services in recent decades means that high quality data on international trade in services that provide insights into the types of services that are traded, and with which partner countries, are vital for economic analyses and policy making.
The OECD collects and disseminates annual international trade in services statistics for all OECD countries by partner economy and detailed service category. In addition, on a quarterly basis, trends in Total International Trade in Services transactions (imports, exports and trade balance) are available as part of the OECD Balance of Payments collection.
OECD international trade in services statistics are collected in close coordination with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the statistical office of the European Union (Eurostat) to reduce burden on national statistics agencies and to ensure maximum coordination and cooperation at the international level. The Annual OECD Trade in Services Questionnaire can be found here.
Extensive metadata, derived from the joint OECD-Eurostat Trade in Services Metadata Questionnaire, are also available in these online datasets and provide more information on how countries have collected and compiled the statistics for different services categories.
Services exports between six largest exporters
The chart shows the six largest exporters of international trade in services in the OECD and their trade amongst themselves. In value terms (USD), the United States exported $827 billion of international trade in services in 2018, more than double the second biggest exporter, the United Kingdom, at $397 billion. The next four largest exports are: Germany, $343 billion; France, $294 billion; the Netherlands, $248 billion; and Ireland, $213 billion. Trade amongst themselves accounts for a large share of the six economies’ total exports, ranging from 24% (the United States) up to 51% (the Netherlands). The United Kingdom sees an impressive 23% of it exports destined for the United States, with Germany being its next biggest export market at 7%. As seen, the United States, as well as being the biggest exporter, is also a major importer of services. Along with United Kingdom, the United States is the top destination of exports from both France and Germany.
International trade in services statistics are a part of the balance of payments framework, and are also used for National Accounts. Balance of payments international trade in services statistics are also closely related to the statistics on the Activities of Multinational Enterprises (AMNE): while balance of payments trade in services data reflect those international trade transactions that are delivered via WTO GATS Modes of Supply 1 (cross-border supply), 2 (consumption abroad) and 4 (presence of natural persons), the AMNE statistics (also called Foreign Affiliate Statistics (FATS)) reflect Mode 3 (commercial presence). Finally, international trade in services statistics are an important input for the production of the inter-country input output table that underpins the WTO-OECD Trade in Value Added database. Further data can be found here:
International Organisations, including the OECD, collaborate to develop methodological manuals and accompanying Compiler’s Guides to ensure and facilitate the production of consistent, comparable and high-quality international trade in services statistics:
For any queries about international trade in services statistics at the OECD, please write to: email@example.com