C.  Phased implementation of the recommendations on data compilation

12.7.        The present Guide advises a phased implementation approach for the compilation of data within the statistical framework for measuring the international supply of services. The proposed approach can, in particular for modes of supply, serve as a reference for producing approximations of certain statistics. Part III, therefore, identifies the main conceptual and statistical challenges in measuring the international supply of services, in particular for the modes dimension, and goes beyond balance of payments services and FATS. The present part evaluates to what extent existing statistics can match the information needs of trade negotiators and economic analysts, in particular in the context of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS); it also identifies what would need to be developed in data compilation systems to respond to information needs when it comes to other indicators useful for assessing the international supply of services. 

12.8.        Data on trade in services have been compiled for a number of years in the context of the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual, ed. 5 (BPM5), but compiling more detailed statistics by type of service and by partner remains a challenge for many compilers. Not much information is currently compiled on the activities of foreign affiliates, as FATS is a relatively new statistical domain. Moreover, modes of supply are not always easy to observe and, consequently, many data compilers have not yet compiled such data. On the one hand, the concept of modes of supply is not yet embedded in existing national compilation systems. On the other hand, a completely new compilation of statistics on the international supply of services by mode will necessarily cause a higher burden and additional costs for compiling economies; that  is why a phased approach should be adopted on the basis of the proposals in MSITS 2010. Statisticians, both national and international, also need to have a more profound knowledge of how different services sectors operate in various economies. Compilers can choose among different approaches that are elaborated in part III, in particular in chapter 14. The respective size of an economy, the structure of the services sector or the importance of specific services are indicators that could be used for focusing on one approach or the other, or adopting a combination of several approaches. 

12.9.        A simplified allocation and direct compilation of statistics on the international supply of services by modes For the development of modes of supply information, a simplified allocation of FATS and balance of payments data to modes of supply is proposed in MSITS 2010.[1] The so-called mechanical allocation of services categories either to one dominant mode or the indication of a distribution to several modes in the balance of payments, as well the simple allocation of FATS to mode 3, is considered to be the starting point. That approach makes use of existing services data within the balance of payments/FATS framework for compiling or estimating statistics by mode of supply and is further explained in chapter 14, section C, and in chapter 15. 

12.10.        That simplified allocation is a reasonable first step because of the relatively low cost and minimum burden for compilers. Chapter 14 also elaborates on the development of estimates on a broader basis that takes into account economic, political-economic and socioeconomic issues. Chapter 14 then focuses on the actual compilation of data, in particular by suggesting the identification of modes in trade in services surveys (mainly modes 1 and 4, but also mode 2, under certain conditions). Specific sector studies, which focus on different user interests, could serve several purposes, including providing specific studies to policy makers on, for example, services incidental to agriculture or environmental services. Such an approach could also be applied for further elaboration and adjustments of the simplified allocation. 

12.11.        Finally, as outlined above, beyond the monetary value of the international supply of services, users also need additional monetary and non-monetary data, which are mainly described in chapter 16 and, for mode 3, chapter 15 (e.g., employment, number of enterprises). Although those additional needs are considered to be longer term objectives for compilation, when developing the system, compilers should keep them in mind so that they can be factored in easily at future stages of development of a complete information system.


Next: D. Use of models and estimates


[1] See MSITS 2010, chap. V and table V.2, as well as chap. 1, para. 1.5.