Eye on Services
What is the Services Sector?
The Services Sector is the largest sector in the Trinidad and Tobago economy, contributing annually on average $TT 43 billion ($US 6.8 billion) to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) accounting for over 60 percent of GDP during 2001-2005. The services sector is diverse covering business services (professional, computer etc), construction, transport, communications, financial services, tourism/travel, government operations among others and employs an average of 80 percent of the labour force, some 422,000 persons. Services have also been a net contributor to the balance of payments.
How are services exported?
Services exports are classified into four (4) modes of supply:
- Mode 1: Cross border supply – services provided across a country border;
- Mode 2: Consumption Abroad – services provided to a foreign visitor;
- Mode 3: Commercial Presence – service provided through setting up an establishment abroad;
- Mode 4: Movement of natural persons – services provided by travelling to a foreign country to deliver the service.
Why is the TTCSI important?
The development of the services sector is an important element of Government’s overall drive to develop the non-energy sector. The TTCSI will serve to assist in trade negotiations and to strengthen the local private sector to face the challenges and opportunities arising from decisions taken at the WTO, the CSME and other trading arrangements.
Who is a services exporter?
You are a service exporter if a non-resident customer pays you for your services regardless of where the service is provided.
How will the TTCSI benefit the services exporter?
TTCSI’s membership is comprised of Associations and not individuals. However, services exporters can take advantage of the full range of benefits TTCSI offers by joining their relevant professional Associations, which are members of TTCSI.
How will the TTCSI help the Services Sector?
The TTCSI was established in 2006 to help the services sector manage the challenges it faces in exporting its services. The TTCSI has the following objectives:
- To provide national service providers with knowledge of export opportunities;
- To identify and exploit market opportunities;
- To encourage national service providers to engage in developing export programmes and promotional activities through collaboration locally, regionally and internationally;
- To promote the further development and competitiveness of the national services sector;
- To support and facilitate the development of industry standards;
- To educate the national service providers on relevant aspects of trade agreements that affect trade in services;
- To represent the interests of the national services sector, including lobbying Government and promoting fair multilateral rules for trade in services.
General Facts on Services Coalitions
Services coalitions are recent phenomena, the first being formed in the 1980′s to ensure that concerns of services firms were well represented in the Uruguay Round of the WTO.
Examples of active coalitions are:
- U.S. Coalition of Service Industries
- European Services Forum
- Australian Services Roundtable
- Uganda Services Exporters Association
- Barbados Coalition of Services Industries
- St. Lucia Coalition of Services Industries
- Guyana Coalition of Service Providers
Services Coalitions: The Global Experience
For very small firms in Uganda, forming a coalition gave them a collective voice, resources and influence with trade negotiators.
“Our organisation, the Uganda Services Exporters’ Association, is small, and the size of our members is even smaller…through the Private Sector Foundation, Ugandan services firms, even small ones [have been able] to contribute to Uganda’s negotiating proposals. It has also served as a basis to select private sector representatives to a number of WTO and regional negotiation forums.” George Walusimbi-Mpanga, Uganda Services Exporters’ Association as reported in International Trade Forum – Issue 1/2006.
Mobilization for WTO negotiations
“Five years ago, in Cancun, only one Australian service industry representative attended the WTO Ministerial, as a non-governmental organisation. This time there are seven service industry representatives here in Hong Kong with me, four of them on the ‘inside’, in the formal government delegation. So there is a huge change. The Australian service sector is mobilising” Jane Drake-Brockman, Executive Director, Australian Services Roundtable as reported in International Trade Forum – Issue 1/2006