Mr. Christian H Ebeke, Jan-Martin Frie, and Louise Rabier
The services sector is increasingly important for the euro area economy, but productivity growth in the sector has stalled over the past two decades. Remaining barriers to cross-border trade in services within the EU Single Market contribute to this weak performance. Our empirical analysis suggests that slow progress in tackling these barriers is associated with political economy factors such as weak government support in parliaments, low government efficiency and high markups. To remove the cross-border restrictions on services trade, we suggest combining incentives such as financial support, technical assistance and improved communication on barriers with more effective enforcement.
We propose an integrated method based on a two-sector small open economy dynamic and stochastic general equilibrium model to estimate non-tariff barriers and quantify the impact of services liberalization. The major component of trade barriers is explicitly modeled through the introduction of entry-sunk costs. Hence, liberalization is treated assuming a government's policy decision aimed at reducing those costs. Then, we estimate the model using Bayesian techniques for Tunisia and the Euro Area. The paper presents a precise quantitative evaluation of services trade barriers as the difference between entry-sunk costs in Tunisia versus the Euro Area. We find significant welfare benefits in addition to aggregate and sectoral growth gains the Tunisian economy could attain following services liberalization. Surprisingly, the goods sector is the one that benefits the most from services liberalization in the short- and long-term horizons.
Ms. Natalia T. Tamirisa, Mr. Alexander Lehmann, and Mr. Jaroslaw Wieczorek
This paper reviews the characteristics of international trade in services and of the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) framework, which was established to regulate it. Further liberalization of services trade in developing countries, as currently envisaged in the context of the WTO Doha Development Agenda, holds a number of potential benefits, such as underpinning the liberalization of goods trade, but it is also being resisted due to its potential adjustment costs. Two implications for IMF activities are examined: coherence among the three principal international economic institutions and sequencing with macroeconomic stabilization and regulatory reforms.