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Technical Notes

Technical notes




See Symbols and Abbreviations used in the Services Profiles.



GDP (Gross domestic product) is the sum of output within the country’s territory minus the sum of intermediate consumption (increased by taxes net of subsidies on products). Sources: World Bank, Eurostat and national sources.


Services value added, Employment in services and FDI in services - Stocks cover the following ISIC Rev. 3 sectors: wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles and personal and household goods; hotels and restaurants; transport, storage and communications; financial intermediation; real estate renting and business activities; education; health and social work; other community, social and personal services; private households with employed persons.


For some economies, data cover the following ISIC Rev.4 sectors: wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; transportation and storage; accommodation and food service activities; information and communication; financial and insurance activities; real estate activities; professional, scientific and technical activities; administrative and support service activities education; human health and social work activities; arts, entertainment and recreation; other service activities; activities of households as employers; undifferentiated goods- and services-producing activities of households for own use.


For countries sourced from Eurostat, the classification used is NACE Rev. 2. For the United States is NAICS. Despite the different industry classifications used, economies' statistics are largely comparable.  Sources: UNSD, UNCTAD, OECD, ILO, Eurostat, and national sources.


Infrastructure services value added cover transportation services, telecommunications services, finance and insurance services.


Commercial services equal services minus "government services, not included elsewhere". Sources: IMF and WTO estimates (August 2012).


Other commercial services include communications services; construction; insurance services; financial services; computer and information services; royalties and licence fees; other business services; personal, cultural and recreational services. Sources: IMF and WTO estimates (August 2012).


Foreign direct investment (FDI) reflects the objective of obtaining a lasting interest by a resident entity in one economy ("direct investor") in an entity resident in an economy other than that of the investor ("direct investment enterprise"). Sources: OECD, UNCTAD and Eurostat.


Total services sectors with GATS commitments has been established by the WTO Secretariat on the basis of available information and in the light of the Services Sectoral Classification List (MTN.GNS/W/120). The total number of sub-sectors is in the order of 160. Source: WTO.


FATS (Foreign Affiliates Trade in Services) statistics refer to foreign affiliates for which foreign investors own more than 50 per cent of the voting power or equity interest. Sales measure gross operating revenues, less rebates, discounts and returns. In the profiles, FATS sales refer to affiliates primarily engaged in services activities and exclude wholesale and retail trade and repair activities. Sources: WTO estimates based on OECD and Eurostat data as well as national sources.


Gross fixed capital formation is a measure of the net investment by enterprises, government and households in the domestic economy in fixed capital assets (i.e machinery and buildings). Sources: UNSD, OECD and Eurostat.




Transportation services


Unless otherwise indicated, inward and outward FDI, value added and employment cover the transportation and storage industry (ISIC Rev. 3 categories from I-60 to I-63 or ISIC Rev. 4 categories from H-49 to H-53). Sources: UNSD, OECD, UNCTAD, Eurostat, ILO, as well as national sources.   


Transportation services (Balance of Payments) cover sea, air and other including land, internal waterway, space and pipeline transport services that are performed by residents of one economy for those of another, and that involve the carriage of passengers, the movement of goods (freight), rentals (charters) of carriers with crew, and related supporting and auxiliary services. Sources: IMF and WTO estimates (August 2012).



Maritime transport


Maritime merchant fleet

Number of merchant ships registered at a given date in a country and authorised to navigate at sea. DWT (deadweight ton) is a weight measure of a vessel's carrying capacity. Source: UNCTAD.


Container port traffic measures the flow of containers from land to sea transport modes, and vice versa, in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), a standard-size container. Source: Containerisation International.


International freight by sea represents the weight of all goods and livestock in external trade loaded on and unloaded from sea-going vessels of all flags at the ports of the country. Sources: UN Monthly Bulletin of Statistics (MBS), UNCTAD and Eurostat.



Air Transport


Passengers - Freight - International freight - International passengers refer to revenue scheduled traffic of airline(s) registered in the country. A passenger-kilometre is performed when a passenger is carried by one kilometre. A ton-kilometre equals to the tons of freight carried by the kilometres flown. Sources: ICAO and Eurostat.



Road transport


Road lines, total network includes all the roads in country. Sources: International Road Federation (IRF) supplemented by World Bank estimates, Eurostat.


Passengers is the number of passengers transported by road multiplied by the kilometres travelled.  Freight is the volume of goods transported by road vehicles, measured in millions of tons multiplied by the kilometres travelled. Sources: International Road Federation (IRF) supplemented by World Bank estimates, Eurostat.


International freight refers to goods which having been loaded on a road vehicle in the country, left the country by road and were unloaded in another country. Sources: UNECE and Eurostat.



Rail Transport


Rail lines, total network includes all rail lines reported from the country. Sources: International Union of Railways (UIC), World Bank and Eurostat.


Passengers is the number of passengers transported by rail multiplied by the kilometres travelled. Freight is the volume of goods transported by rail, measured in millions of tons multiplied by the kilometres travelled. Sources: International Union of Railways (UIC) and Eurostat.




Telecommunications services


Unless otherwise indicated, inward and outward FDI and value added cover the telecommunications industry (ISIC Rev. 3 category I-642 or ISIC Rev. 4 J-61). Sources: UNSD, OECD, Eurostat as well as national sources. 


Telecommunications services (Balance of Payments) encompass the transmission of sound, images or other information by telephone, telex, telegram, radio and television cable and broadcasting, satellite, electronic mail, facsimile services etc., including business network services, teleconferencing and support services. Also included are cellular telephone services, internet backbone services and on-line access services, including provision of access to the internet.

Sources: IMF, Eurostat and WTO estimates (August 2012).


Total telephone subscribers refers to the sum of main telephone lines and cellular mobile subscribers. Aggregate calculated by the WTO on the basis of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) free statistics.


Mobile phone subscribers refers to the subscriptions to a public mobile telephone service and provides access to Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) using cellular technology, including number of pre-paid SIM cards active during the past three months. This includes both analogue and digital cellular systems (IMT-2000 (Third Generation, 3G) and 4G subscriptions, but excludes mobile broadband subscriptions via data cards or USB modems. Subscriptions to public mobile data services, private trunked mobile radio, telepoint or radio paging, and telemetry services should also be excluded. This should include all mobile cellular subscriptions that offer voice communications. Source: International Telecommunication Union (ITU).


Internet users refers to the estimated number of Internet users out of total population. This includes those using the Internet from any device (including mobile phones) in the last 12 months. Source: International Telecommunication Union (ITU).


Broadband internet subscribers refers to subscriptions to high-speed access to the public Internet (a TCP/IP connection), at downstream speeds equal to, or greater than, 256 kbit/s. This can include for example cable modem, DSL, fibre-to-the-home/building and other fixed (wired) broadband subscriptions. This total is measured irrespective of the method of payment. It excludes subscriptions that have access to data communications (including the Internet) via mobile cellular networks. If countries use a different definition of broadband, this should be indicated in a note. It should exclude technologies listed under wireless broadband category. Source: International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Eurostat.


Secure internet servers are servers using encryption technology in internet transactions. Source: Netcraft.





Finance and Insurance


Unless otherwise indicated, inward and outward FDI, value added and employment cover the financial intermediation industry (ISIC Rev. 3 category J or ISIC Rev. 4 K). Sources: UNSD, OECD, ILO, Eurostat as well as national sources.



Financial services


Financial services (Balance of Payments) cover financial intermediation and auxiliary services provided by banks, stock exchanges, factoring enterprises, credit card enterprises, and other enterprises. Sources: IMF, Eurostat, and WTO estimates (August 2012).


Domestic credit by the banking sector includes all credit to various sectors on a gross basis, with the exception of credit to the central government, which is net. The banking sector includes monetary authorities and deposit money banks, as well as other banking institutions. Sources: IMF; World Bank and OECD for GDP estimates.


Interest rate spread is the interest rate charged by banks on loans to prime customers (lending rate) minus the interest rate paid by commercial or similar banks for demand, time, or savings deposits (deposit rate). Source: IMF.


Market capitalization of companies listed on the country's stock exchange(s) is the share price multiplied by the number of shares outstanding. Sources: Standard & Poor's; World Bank and OECD for GDP estimates.



Insurance services


Insurance services (Balance of Payments) cover the provision of various types of insurance to non residents by resident insurance enterprises, and vice versa, for example, freight insurance, direct insurance (e.g. life) and reinsurance. Sources: IMF, Eurostat and WTO estimates (August 2012).


Insurance density represents the average insurance spending per capita in a given country. It is calculated by dividing direct gross premiums (total premiums paid) by the population. It excludes cross-border business. Source: SwissRe, Sigma No.3/2012.


Insurance penetration represents the relative importance of the insurance industry in the domestic economy. It is calculated as the ratio of direct gross premiums (total premiums paid) to GDP. It excludes cross-border business. Source: SwissRe, Sigma No.3/2012.




Symbols and Abbreviations



Not available


Not applicable





















'000 DWT         

Thousands of deadweight tons

'000 TEUs        

Thousands of twenty-foot equivalent units




Economic Integration Agreements


Foreign Direct Investment


Foreign Affiliates Trade in Services Statistics


General Agreement on Trade in Services


Gross Domestic Product


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