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C.  Statistics on resident/non-resident transactions in services

1.13.    The concepts and definitions recommended for use in statistics on services transactions between residents and non-residents are based on MSITS 2010, chapter III, which is, in turn, based on BPM6, chapter 10. Statistics compiled following those concepts and definitions reflect the value of services supplied mainly through modes 1, 2 and 4. The collection of such data is, in general, the responsibility of a country's BOP compilation agency. In many countries, that agency is the central bank, but in others, the responsibility is given to the agency in charge of compiling economic statistics (usually the national statistical office). Alternatively, some countries have opted for a division of tasks (e.g., with the statistical office collecting trade in services data and the central bank compiling and disseminating them). The collection and compilation of resident/non-resident services transactions are further discussed in chapters 5 through 11 and 13 and 14 of the present Guide.

1.14.    When producing statistics on services transactions, compilers should:

 (a) Follow the general BPM6 principles regarding institutional units, residence, centre of predominant economic interest, economic transactions, valuation, market prices, accrual accounting, gross recording, etc., and, of course, the definition of services;[1]

 (b) Break down services transactions according to EBOPS 2010 step-by-step, according to the needs of the compiling economy. Compilers should be aware that EBOPS 2010 is consistent with the BPM6 classification of services, but provides a more detailed breakdown and suggests a number of complementary groupings for compilation by particular sector; 

 (c) Break down the value of services by trading partner according to the economy of residence of the respective trading partner. That step should be implemented gradually and in line with the needs of the compiling country;[2]

 (d) Identify or estimate the modes of supply related to the services transactions; 

 (e) Specify the relationship between the parties involved in the services transactions.

1.15.    When compiling statistics on the international supply of services, as specified above, it should be taken into account that the prices at which exchanges between affiliated firms are valued may not represent market prices. However, the concept of market price is particularly important, given that increased globalization is paired with, and often driven by, enterprises headquartered in one country that establish affiliates in other countries to produce and distribute goods and services (see boxes 1.2 and 1.3). International trade in services between such parents and their foreign affiliates has rapidly increased. Therefore, within the framework of statistics on the international supply of services, the identification of trading partners in transactions between parents and foreign affiliates has an important analytical value.  

Box 1.2

Transfer and market prices

In some cases, the values against which transactions between affiliated enterprises are priced internally may not represent market prices. In general, when there is an international transaction between two affiliated firms, it is expected that the value of the transaction for the exporting affiliate will be equal to the value of the transaction for the importing affiliate and that, hence, they will cancel each other out, leaving the overall profits of the multinational enterprise (MNE) unchanged, no matter at what price it values the transaction. However, in a world in which international transactions are taxed and the rates of business income taxation differ among countries, an MNE will have definite financial incentives to choose strategically the “transfer price” to minimize the amount of tax paid to both jurisdictions. A transfer price is the price at which an enterprise transfers physical goods and intangible property or provides services to associated enterprises. Because transfer pricing might result in the under- or over-invoicing of transactions between affiliated enterprises, compared with transactions between unrelated      parties, adjustments should be made when the exchange values do not represent market prices. The OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for      Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations 2010   state that, for income taxation and customs valuation purposes, enterprises should follow the “arm’s length standard”, i.e., set the transfer price equal to the price that two unrelated parties would negotiate when trading the same or substantially similar products under the same or substantially similar circumstances. The OECD guidelines propose five methods for adjusting transfer prices by that standard on the basis of the comparability of the transactions. Transactions are considered comparable when their “economically relevant characteristics” are the same, or if they differ, when the differences have no material impact on the results. In practice, internal and external transactions are unlikely to be exactly comparable. Therefore, the OECD guidelines recommend that material differences be identified, quantified and adjusted when determining the arm’s length transfer price. Moreover, since transfer pricing is not an exact science, the guidelines recommend that transfer prices be set inside a range of acceptable arm’s length prices, known as the “arm’s length range”.   

Note: See OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations 2010      ( for more information.

Box 1.3

Trade in value added 

With the increasedinternational fragmentation of production, intra- and interindustry trade has grown dramatically, creating so-called global value chains (GVCs).. Conventional measures of international trade do not always reflect the flows of goods and services within those chains, and are unable to answer policy questions related to the economic and employment impact of their country's embeddedness in GVCs. In response, OECD and WTO have developed an analytical data set on trade in value added (TiVA), in order to provide insight into the value that is added by each country in the production of goods and services that are consumed worldwide. 

The estimates are based on a global input-output table, constructed from official national input-output tables or supply and use tables and bilateral trade statistics of goods and services, made consistent with national accounts data. Since TiVA combines national statistics to develop a global analytical toolkit, it requires high quality input data from national compilers, including information on bilateral trade in services (by EBOPS category) and on the characteristics of the firms involved in services trade (notably, their industry classification). The first aspect requires BOP compilers to develop trade in services statistics by partner; the second aspect involves the development of data sets by national compilers that allow for the analysis of services trade companies by economic characteristics (known as services trade by enterprise characteristics (STEC)). Those statistics are developed through the identification of firms responsible for trade in services, by linking trade and business registers.

1.16.     The identification of trading partners is especially important in the case of service items, such as manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others; research and development; computer services; audiovisual services; charges for the use of intellectual property n.i.e.; and professional and management consulting services, that are provided within global production and marketing networks. It is recognized, however, that compiling such statistics by trading partner is resource-intensive and difficult, owing to issues related to disclosure and incompleteness of information. The issues related to the identification of trading partner are further discussed in part II, in the context of data collection, and part III, in the context of data compilation.)

1.17.    A second consideration relates to the bundling of services with other services or with goods, such as in the tourism sector. Some arrangers bundle various types of services and goods, with the final client making only one payment that covers both the package of services and goods itself as well as the service fee for arranging those products.[3] In principle, the payments for related services or goods should be unbundled,[4] but if unbundling is not possible, it may be a strong indication that the bundling has resulted in the creation of a new product. In such a case, an appropriate classification must be found for the new product.

1.18.    A final consideration is the strong link between intellectual property products and trade in services. Services related to intellectual property rights, for example, such creative services as computer or audiovisual services, are becoming increasingly important in the business world. Therefore, information on such services is becoming progressively more important for economic analysis. Chapter 14 addresses the relevant EBOPS 2010 services components in a single group, including services related to intellectual property products and other business and personal services (covering charges for the use of intellectual property n.i.e.; telecommunications, computer and information services; other business services; and personal, cultural and recreational services). MSITS 2010 also suggests some relevant complementary groupings within EBOPS 2010, namely, computer software transactions, audiovisual transactions and cultural transactions.


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[1] See MSITS 2010, para. 3.41.  

[2] See MSITS 2010, paras. 3.57 and 3.58. 

[3] See BPM6. Paragraph 3.17 does not refer specifically to services transactions, but it recommends unbundling two or more different transactions that appear as a single transaction from the perspective of the parties involved. 

[4] Travel agencies and tour operators function in that way. Besides the treatment of transactions of travel agents that is described, BPM6 and MSITS 2010 do not provide further information on unbundling. However, both manuals propose an alternative presentation of travel by type of product consumed, which would encourage the unbundling of transactions. This is actually supported by tourism statisticians in the context of the Tourism Satellite Account and, more generally, to better link the information with the need for establishing supply/use and input-output tables.