The Import and Export of Services -- Their Role in Driving a Significant Portion of International Trade

Just this month, Sarita Jackson published a book -- entitled International Trade in Services: Effective Practice and Policy -- that provides a simple, yet thorough, introduction on how to export a service to an overseas market and guides its audience with a step-by-step process on exporting a service from research to strategy to implementation. 

When I spoke with Sarita recently, I asked her, "Although export and import of services drive a significant portion of international trade, why is attention to this area so minimal?" Here is her complete answer: 

As someone whose first practical encounter in international trade entailed exporting consulting services throughout Southern Africa and the Eastern Caribbean, this is a question that served as the impetus for the book.

Economists paid less attention to the services sector because they did not consider services, which are intangible, as tradable commodities.

Furthermore, policymakers have focused less on the services sector because its trade surplus does not create a sense of concern and urgency, especially among voters during an election cycle. On the other hand, the high trade deficit in the manufacturing sector, along with the loss of jobs partly due to the significant increase in less expensive imports from overseas, explains why there is a greater focus on increasing manufacturing exports.

For example, United States trade policy discussions during the 2016 presidential election cycle focused on the $800 billion dollar trade deficit in the manufacturing sector in which goods purchased from overseas far outweigh those sold to consumers in other countries.

At the same time, the United States had close to a $300 billion trade surplus in which its exports surpassed its imports thus creating additional job opportunities.

Due to the lower levels of attention to the services sector, my workshops and business courses have provided research and practical tips pertaining to the import and export of a service. The request for in-depth, practical information from workshop attendees and students with a services-based business or an interest in providing a service overseas demonstrated that this part of the international trade community continues to expand.

My book International Trade in Services: Effective Practiceand Policy now provides insight and answers regarding a continuously growing and important sector in international trade. 

What do you think of Sarita's perspective? What has your experience been exporting a service to an overseas market?