shown a marked reluctance to expose their domestic service sectors to the full blast of foreign competition. This is perhaps not surprising given the political sensitivity of the sectors in question. Liberalisation is further complicated by the fact that barriers to trade in services invariably take a different form to trade in goods. Mostly, they result from different regulatory practices in different countries. Liberalisation, therefore, necessitates each country making specific commitments to alter some national laws. The consequences of any such commitments are often difficult to measure, so that countries can never be sure that the concessions that they make are matched by equivalent benefits as a result of similar commitments by other trading partners. Trade in services will remain a major item on the agenda of multilateral trade negotiations in the next century. Pressures will increase from the western industrialised countries for faster progress. To the extent that these negotiations are successful, trade in services can be expected to become more important as a component of world trade in the future.
Few conventional textbooks on Trade include a separate chapter on Service Trade, as this is assumed to be governed by the same principles as trade in goods. However, one exception to this is:
Greenaway D. and Winters A., Surveys in International Trade (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1994).
which contains an excellent chapter (Chapter 10) by A. Sapir and C. Winters on service trade. Another useful reference is:
Porter M. The Competitive Advantage of Nations (London: Macmillan, 1990).
This also contains an excellent chapter on the internationalisation of service activity with some useful case studies.
On the liberalisation of trade in services, the following are essential reading:
Nicolaides P. Liberalising Services Trade, Chatham House Papers, (London: RIIA/Routledge, 1989).
although the book pre-dates the signing of the GATS Agreement. An additional source is:
Trebilock M.T. and Howse R., The Regulation of International Trade, 2nd edn. (London and New York: Routledge, 1995).
which has excellent chapters on trade in services and TRIPs.
A more recent source on trade liberalisation dealing exclusively with financial services is:
Key S.J., Financial Services in the Uruguay Round and the WTO, Occasional Paper 54 (Washington DC: Group of Thirty).
For statistical information on trade in services, see the WTO’s Annual Report.
For information on the service sector in the U.K. economy, the reader should consult:
Julius DeA. and Butler J., Inflation and Growth in a Service Economy (Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, November, 1998).