Trade in services


    Trade in services is an avenue for export diversification and an enabler for other sectors to join or move up the value chain by providing necessary inputs. Trade in services is subject to market access and national treatment conditions, as well as various domestic regulatory measures, such as licensing and qualification requirements, technical standards, competition, data, and consumer protection.

    Having a conducive policy environment is key to competitiveness in services trade. ITC helps governments do this through support to policy reforms, strengthening capacity to develop and implement trade agreements, and enhancing the role and capacity of business support organizations in promoting services trade.

    Various ITC projects at the country level also work directly with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to increase their services export capacity through training and connecting them to the global services market.

    Supporting services trade negotiations

    ITC advises policymakers and negotiators on how to best ensure their informed participation in multilateral and regional services-related negotiations. We can help to:

    • support countries to develop negotiating positions in the WTO and regional or bilateral negotiations;
    • support acceding governments to the WTO to develop their services schedules;
    • hold trainings to enable public and private stakeholders to provide inputs to the negotiations.

    Domestic reforms to boost trade in services

    ITC supports countries enhancing their services competitiveness through facilitating domestic reforms implementing services trade agreements.

    ITC provides:

    • Support on compliance assessments and reviews of domestic regulatory frameworks with regional and multilateral commitments, and recommendations and roadmaps for policy reforms;
    • Technical expertise to develop/revise legislative instruments based on the country’s development strategies as well as international rules and practices;
    • Technical guidance on the emerging policy issues in services trade, particularly in the area of e-commerce and digital trade;
    • Design of export strategies for Services sectors.

    Building capacity for services trade

    Private sector players such as business support organizations (BSOs) and small and medium-sized companies exporting services need support to leverage policy reforms and trade agreements to turn them into business opportunities.

    ITC provides:

    • Training and capacity building for BSOs and private sector stakeholders on understanding and operationalizing services trade arrangements;
    • Up-to-date information on global policy and industry trends in services trade, and relevant tools for market intelligence;
    • Targeted support for the private sector to develop policy positions and engage in policy advocacy on trade in services-related issues.

    ITC contact

    Quan Zhao
    Itctradepolicy [at]