International meeting on services value-added in exports: Services and trade policies for diversification and upgrading

22 - 23 October 2019
Esplanada dos Ministérios - Ministério da Economia, Bloco K, Auditório do Subsolo
, Brazil

The main objective of the international meeting is to reduce the knowledge gap on services’ value added in exports to allow for development through evidence-based policymaking, as called for in sustainable development goals (SDGs), particularly trade- and services-related policies. This will be pursued through the exchange of lessons learned and interactive discussions.

To this end, experts on trade, industrial and services policies, from several countries, regional and international organizations, private sector and academia will participate in several “services talks”, public policy and expert panels.

The meeting will also share and discuss the results of UNCTAD’s work in Brazil, with funding from the European Union and in cooperation with the Government of Brazil, as useful lessons for developing countries.

This work has included the measurement of services’ value-added in exports; the development of a guidebook for developing countries on the methodology to measure services’ value-added in developing countries; and the analysis of trade and services policies to enable its potential.

To highlight how services are at your service, success stories will be presented by private sector representatives on how services value-added is contributing to strengthening agriculture and industrialization strategies and to enhancing the export capacity of all economic sectors.

Experts on trade in value-added will address data-related policy and methodological issues. Furthermore, the policy analysis and discussions will take deep dives on information and communication technology (ICT) services and professional services to examine in which way these services play a key role in providing enabling value-added for overall productive and export capacity.


Services trade is growing more than goods trade, more resiliently, and more in developing countries. Still, the full importance of trade in services goes well beyond their direct exports, as there is substantial value-added of services incorporated in goods exports, from services intermediate inputs and from services bundled with goods. In developing countries, services value-added in exports more than doubled services direct exports and two-thirds of the growth of services value-added in exports is due to an increase in services embodied in all sectors. For a set of selected economies, with services activities within manufacturing firms, services’ contribution to overall exports was close to two-thirds.

Through these indirect roles, services can induce efficiency and effectiveness, reduction of productive and trade barriers, and contribute to more productivity, increased productive and export capacity and higher participation in global value chains. Services were responsible for two thirds of total productivity growth in developing countries. This highlights that services are not an alternative to agriculture or industrial development, but rather provide key means to complement and strengthen agriculture and industrialization strategies. A stronger services sector, namely through increased services value-added in all sectors, can be particularly relevant for gender equality and women's economic empowerment.

In spite of the importance of the services sector, many developing countries are yet to fully explore the development potential of services-led economic transformation and growth. The challenge of devising a coherent services and trade policy and regulatory framework is compounded by insufficient data on services’ value-added and information on how services value-added in exports is affected or enabled by current trade, industrial and services policies. This meeting will address this knowledge gap.


The international meeting will directly serve several stakeholders.

Policymakers as the meeting will detail trade, industrial and services-related policy options that build on services value-added as a key tool for economic and trade development;

Trade negotiators since the meeting will also cover trade-related policies and will particularly focus on the impact of services’ value-added in exports;

Academics and researchers, including from think tanks and non-governmental organizations, will also be able to draw insights from the methodology for measuring services’ value added in exports, and from the analyses of trade and services policies;

Private sector representatives because, with services’ value-added, firms may have better chances to take advantage from services inputs, increased efficiency, reduced costs, higher productivity, higher productive and export capacity, and facilitated participation in international trade and in value chains;

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprise representatives as they can benefit from achieving the full potential of services, including servicification and services’ value-added in exports;

Workers and workers’ associations, since evidence-based policies that take services sector’s indirect effects into consideration can enhance the employment effects;

Policymakers working on gender empowerment as they will better understand the positive effects of services sector on gender balance and female employment in several services sectors;

Public and private stakeholders of professional services as they will benefit from the special policy focus on their sector;

Public and private stakeholders of information and communication technology services since they will benefit from the special policy focus on their sector.

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23 Oct 2019

UNCTAD, European Commission and the Ministry of Economy of Brazil
Sponsor / funding:
European Union



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Mr. Bruno Antunes
T. +41 22 917 5526
E. [email protected]