Économie et Statistique n° 435-436 - 2010Internationalization of French Business Firms
From Traded Services to Tradable Services: An Application on French Data
Services have long been viewed as little-tradable or altogether untradable activities. While service trade accounts for some 20% of international trade, services generate between 60% and 80% of gross domestic product (GDP) in developed countries. The margin for growth therefore seems substantial. Moreover, in recent years, several technical and institutional barriers have been removed-to the likely advantage of the service trade. Our study offers an initial identification of activities in metropolitan France producing services actually traded and “tradable” services, i.e., those that can technically be produced and consumed in different locations. While today only one out of two service sectors is traded internationally, we reckon that 30 service activities of the 36 studied are tradable. We can thus add to the list of 18 sectors actually traded the following 12 potentially tradable sectors: Advertising and market research, Travel agencies, Labour recruitment and provision of personnel, Association activities, Business administration, Passenger road transport, Property rental, Hotels and restaurants, Street sanitation and waste management, Property development and management, Financial and insurance auxiliaries, and Rental [of machinery and equipment] without operator. Although the number of tradable services may seem large, non-tradable activities still account for nearly one-third of total employment in metropolitan France.