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Spotlight on Services in Canada’s Global Commerce

The Conference Board of Canada, 48 pages, August 5, 2015
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This report—the first in a series on selling services abroad undertaken by The Global Commerce Centre—is a primer on services, presenting a framework to shed light on how, where, and why services are sold abroad.

Document Highlights

Canada is a services economy. Four out of every five jobs are in service-producing industries, and jobs associated with tradable services are often higher paying than those in manufacturing industries. Services account for almost half of Canada’s export value and almost half of all Canadian foreign affiliate sales.

Yet services often go overlooked in policy and public discourse. These important contributions happen under the radar and are difficult to measure and complex to understand. The Conference Board of Canada’s Global Commerce Centre has embarked on a research series to explore the magnitude of services in Canada’s global commerce picture and help bridge the gap on this issue between policy-makers, businesses, and the public. This first report is a primer on services, presenting a framework to shed light on how, where, and why services are sold abroad. The analysis splices together available data to investigate Canada’s services sold abroad and discuss how businesses can take advantage of these opportunities and how governments can support this shift.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Chapter 1—Demystifying Services: Shedding Light on Intangibles

  • Are Services Really That Important?
  • What Is Driving the Global Growth in Services?
  • Demystifying Services Trade

Chapter 2—Selling Canada’s Services Abroad

  • What Routes Do Canada’s Services Take?
  • The Services Sold Abroad, Their Destinations, and Their Purposes
  • Conclusion and Recommendations

Appendix A—Bibliography

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