TRADE THROUGH FDI: investing in services
The type of relationship between different modes of trading services across international borders is of great interest, not only for the academic literature but also for the formulation trade liberalization offers under the GATS. Even more than for trade in goods, it is thus important to know whether cross-border trade and trade through commercial presence abroad act as complements or substitutes in services. The most commonly used analytical tool in the empirical analysis of this question is the gravity model of trade. This paper offers a consistent theoretical foundation for the application of the gravity model to services and to commercial presence, using a composite demand model with offers testable hypothesis about the complementary or substitutive relationship between different modes of supply. It further links the results to policy variables like market regulations which may act directly or implicitly as barriers to trade. Our empirical test for the sample of OECD countries over the decade 1994- 2004 yields robust complementary effects in the short-run, which is reinforced in the long-run by an increased potential for cross-border imports based on previous FDI inflows. A detailed analysis by individual service sectors highlights business, communication and financial services as showing the largest potential for cross-border trade when market regulations are reduced and when commercial presence increases.
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