BRICS trade in services report offers insights for growth

19 September 2022
ITC News

The latest data on BRICS trade in services is available in this report prepared for BRICS meetings underway in 2022.

BRICS countries – Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa – are increasingly important players in global services markets, despite pandemic-induced setbacks. BRICS countries accounted for 10% of global services exports and 13% of global services imports in 2020.

The International Trade Centre report, BRICS Trade in Services Report 2022, finds that BRICS countries can improve competitiveness in services trade by improving domestic policies,  developing stronger business networks, leveraging regional transport and logistics initiatives and  improving data collection and sharing the information between BRICS regulators.

The report updates an ITC report from 2017 with the latest data on sectors and modes of supply for each BRICS country and analyses intra-BRICS trade. This provides insight into trade patterns and opportunities for collaboration with and among BRICS countries.

Key sectors

Transport, travel and other business services represent the largest shares in services exports and imports of BRICS countries. Other sectors feature prominently in services exports of each country: construction for Brazil; financial services, telecom and intellectual property charges for the Russian Federation; telecom and ICT services for India; telecom, manufacturing-related services and construction for China; and financial services and telecom services for South Africa.

Boosting competitiveness

Trade integration in services markets has been proceeding significantly more slowly than in goods markets in the BRICS, notes the report. The report suggests focusing on higher value-added and digital services to make trade more robust and resilient.

‘The greatest challenge of analysing services trade is a lack of data. This report pools available data on services trade from various sources and presents a comprehensive review of services trade for BRICS countries,’ said Pamela Coke-Hamilton, ITC Executive Director.

Better data can come by gathering services trade data by subsector and partner countries, tracking sales of foreign affiliates, supporting data collection efforts of international organizations, as well as enhancing national data collection through pilot projects.

The report also recommends reducing trade costs with policy reforms and regional initiatives, building conducive domestic policy environments for SMEs, greater information-sharing between BRICS authorities and cooperation within the context of G20, WTO and other forums, as well as building stronger private sector cooperation on services trade.