Trade in Services Database

The Trade in Services Database provides information on annual bilateral services trade flows in Mode 1 (cross-border trade) and Mode 2 (consumption abroad) for 199 countries across a multitude of sectors and years spanning 1985 and 2011. The collection of data on cross-border trade in services is notoriously difficult, in large part due to the intangible nature of services but also the high capacity needed to record such data. This is particularly true for developing countries. This database tries to fill this gap by consolidating multiple sources of bilateral trade data in services using mirror techniques, including the OECD, Eurostat, UN and IMF, as to provide a broader coverage of developed and developing countries over time. Mirror-technique is a method to retrieve export trade flows of a reporter by using information on imports of the partner country.

As a word of caution it should be added that the quality of trade data in services is still far away from being comparable to trade data for merchandise goods. Due to the long tradition of tariff revenues, trade data for goods have been collected with quite high quality and accuracy. Due to intangibility and non-storability of services, at-the-border-duties cannot be applied to services, thus having resulted in much weaker compilation practices with considerably less accuracy. Thus, services statistics has ample space for improvement in terms of measurement. In particular with respect to modes 3 and 4, measurement is up to date difficult and incomplete. Ongoing revisions and refinements of the BOP classification work towards solving these issues. As such, the Trade in Services Database should be seen in this light as the best currently available approximation to a comprehensive picture of global trade flows in services.

  • Type

    Cross sectional;Time series

  • Periodicity


  • Last Updated


  • Economy Coverage


  • Granularity

    National, Regional

  • Number of Economies


  • Topic


  • Update Frequency


  • Update Schedule

    In the second quarter of every-other fiscal year.

  • Contact Details

    Sebastian Saez,

  • Access Options

    Bulk download

  • Coverage