January 19, 2022

Research Tools: New OECD-WTO Data Provides Coherent and Comprehensive View of Global Trade in Services

From the OECD and World Trade Organization:

Services comprise a growing share of international trade. Yet detailed statistics on which countries trade which services with which partners remain patchy. Although worldwide, almost all countries provide an estimate of total trade in services as part of their balance of payments and national accounts, only around 50 OECD and non-OECD countries provide some geographical breakdown in their services statistics. This means that we have no data at all for 90% of all possible bilateral services trade relationships, which reflect nearly half of the global services trade value. Moreover, even where data are available, asymmetries – where country A’s figures on exports to country B don’t match country B’s figures on imports from country A – undermine their usefulness.

To mitigate these problems, the OECD, WTO and countries have been collaborating to build a transparent and replicable global dataset of coherent bilateral trade in services statistics by main services categories.

The first edition of the OECD WTO Balanced Trade in Services (BaTIS) dataset is now available.


The OECD-WTO database currently contains data for 191 countries for all 11 main service categories in the Extended Balance of Payments Services (EBOPS) 2002 classification for 1995 to 2012. A new dataset using the EBOPS 2010 classification will be released in 2018 and updated annually thereafter. Further work to reduce asymmetries in official data is under way in collaboration with national statistical offices.

For example, the United Kingdom and the United States are currently undertaking joint work to reduce their asymmetries in services trade (see articles by the UK Office for National Statistics “Asymmetries in trade data – diving deeper into UK bilateral trade data” and US Bureau of Economic Analysis “Understanding Asymmetries Between BEA’s and Partner Countries’ Trade Statistics”).

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.