Services Trade of Commonwealth Member Countries: Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
In most Commonwealth member countries, services account for at least half of total economic activity in terms of gross domestic product. Levels are particularly high in high-income countries but also in some small island states, where activities like tourism and finance – both services – are important in the overall economy. This paper analyses services exports of Commonwealth countries and develops a conceptual framework about the impacts of COVID-19 on services exports. It presents a set of case studies from Commonwealth countries to identify the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic for services trade, and the responses by governments and private sector actors, including the possibilities for cross-modal substitution in services supply due to digital technologies. The case studies cover a wide range of sectors, namely education, information technology, health, tourism and finance. The available evidence, which is scarce, suggests that country experiences have varied depending on the pre-existing pattern of sectoral specialisation, as well as the level of online connectivity.
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