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Policy Barriers to International Trade in Services: Evidence from a New Database

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  • Ingo Borchert
  • Batshur Gootiiz
  • Aaditya Mattoo

Abstract

Surprisingly little is known about policies that affect international trade in services. Previous analyses have focused on policy commitments made by countries in international agreements, but in many cases, these commitments do not reflect actual policy. This paper describes a new initiative to collect comparable information on trade policies for services from 103 countries across a range of service sectors and relevant modes of service delivery. The resulting database reveals interesting policy patterns. Although public monopolies are now rare and few services markets are completely closed, we observe numerous "second-generation" restrictions on entry, ownership, and operations. Even in instances in which there is little explicit discrimination against foreign providers, market access is often unpredictable because the allocation of new licenses remains opaque and highly discretionary in many countries. Across regions, some of the fastest-growing countries in Asia and the oil-rich Gulf states have restrictive policies in services, whereas some of the poorest countries are remarkably open. Across sectors, professional and transportation services are among the most protected industries in both industrial and developing countries, whereas retail, telecommunications, and even finance tend to be more open.

Suggested Citation

  • Ingo Borchert & Batshur Gootiiz & Aaditya Mattoo, 2014. "Policy Barriers to International Trade in Services: Evidence from a New Database," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 28(1), pages 162-188.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:28:y:2014:i:1:p:162-188.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/wber/lht017
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carsten Fink & Aaditya Mattoo & Ileana Cristina Neagu, 2002. "Trade in International Maritime Services: How Much Does Policy Matter?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 16(1), pages 81-108, June.
    2. Czubala, Witold & Shepherd, Ben & Wilson, John S., 2007. "Help or hindrance ? the impact of harmonized standards on african exports," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4400, The World Bank.
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    7. Borchert, Ingo & Gootiiz, Batshur & Grover, Arti & Mattoo, Aaditya, 2012. "Landlocked or policy locked ? how services trade protection deepens economic isolation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5942, The World Bank.
    8. Nora Dihel & Ben Shepherd, 2007. "Modal Estimates of Services Barriers," OECD Trade Policy Papers 51, OECD Publishing.
    9. Hummels, David & Lugovskyy, Volodymyr & Skiba, Alexandre, 2009. "The trade reducing effects of market power in international shipping," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 84-97, May.
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    11. Shepherd, Ben, 2007. "Product standards, harmonization, and trade : evidence from the extensive margin," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4390, The World Bank.
    12. Borchert, Ingo & Gootiiz, Batshur & Mattoo, Aaditya, 2012. "Guide to the services trade restrictions database," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6108, The World Bank.
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