Services Trade of Commonwealth Member Countries: Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic


Ben Shepherd
Anirudh Shingal


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.

ITWP 2021/03 cover



7 May 2021

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