Fact of the Week: ICT Services Exports as a Share of the World’s Services Exports Have Increased From Just Over 20 Percent in 1995 to Almost 32 Percent Today

September 11, 2017

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Services have grown to account for one-quarter of total global trade. Within services, ICT services—which include a range of activities from social media and Internet search to business-process outsourcing, data analysis, and ICT consulting—has been leading this growth. In fact, from 1995 to 2014, world exports of computer and information services expanded much more rapidly than any other services sector, recording as much as 18 percent growth annually. This rapid growth explains why ICT services exports have increased as a share of the world’s total services exports from just over 20 percent in 1995 to almost 32 percent today.

With some analysts suggesting that as much as 50 percent of value generated in the global economy over the next economy will be created digitally, it’s imperative that policymakers implement policies that will continue to bolster the ICT services sector both within their own economies and globally. This includes actions such as joining the Information Technology Agreement, thus reducing tariffs on the ICT hardware that underpins ICT services activities; refraining from introducing data-localization requirements or other barriers to cross-border to data flows; investing in telecommunications infrastructure; and closing digital literacy and skills gaps so all may participate in the digital economy.