This report aims to provide directions for improving Korea’s service trade statistics. Ultimately, the purpose is to enhance the understanding of Korea’s service trade and contribute to the establishment of service trade policies through improved data. To this end, the report categorizes Korea’s service trade statistics into short-, medium-, and long-term agendas based on the progress of discussions on international service trade statistics, domestic policy demand, and data availability for statistical improvement, and studies each agenda.
Chapter 2 first look at the historical discussions regarding the definition of services in economics, and the definition of service supply modes stipulated in trade agreements such as the GATS. Modern service trade statistics collected on the balance of payments are compared with suggested statistics by mode of service supply under the GATS. Based on these discussions, the report presents two considerations for improvements from the perspective of services statistics construction. First, it is necessary to put an effort to converge the classification of the balance of payments to the CPC. Second, statistics by mode of supply defined in services trade agreements need to be reflected in the collection of balance of payments statistics, currently aggregated without distinction by mode of supply.
Chapter 3 discusses how to convert trade statistics by service sector on the balance of payments, which is a transaction standard, into industrial standard service trade statistics such as the Korea Standard Industry Classification. The convergence to activity-based classification is helpful in setting out policy directions at the industry level, and matching with other activity-nased statistics, e.g. foreign direct investments, which are readily prepared based on the Korean standard industry classification. In Chapter 3, service trade statistics from the balance of payments are reclassified according to the Korea Standard Industry Classification. In this process of bridging and fill the gap between the two statistics, a fair amount of addition information and complementary data in each industry are required. Ultimately, in order to increase the rigor of the statistical correspondence between the international balance of payments and the standard industrial classification, it is necessary to test the consistency between them.
In Chapter 4, service trade statistics by mode of supply were estimated as a medium-term improvement issue. There is a great interest in statistical estimation by mode of supply in that different mode implies distinctive impacts on services market. Recently, statistics by mode of supply for individual countries, TISMOS (Trade in Services by Mode of Supply), have been released by the WTO and OECD. However, since Korea’s statistics shown in TISMOS were estimated indirectly using estimates from some countries such as the United States and the EU. In order to initiate discussions to accurately estimate service statistics by mode of supply in Korea we conducted surveys regarding how Korean companies in services sector have traded in terms by mode of supply, focusing on Mode 1 in particular. Then, for more accurate estimation of Mode 2, most of which is accounted for by travel services, we suggest to use additional information and data from Korea’s Foreign Tourist Survey or National Travel Survey. In the case of Mode 3 services trade estimation, we discussed ways to utilize information and data such as “Overseas Direct Investment Management Analysis” provided by the Export- Import Bank of Korea for Mode 3 exports and “Foreign-invested Company Management Survey Analysis” by KOTRA.
Chapter 5 discussed the concerns pertaining to classification of digital products as service products, which have recently grown in interest. Currently, discussions on the classification of intangible products in the traditional dichotomous product classification of goods and services are underway internationally. In this report, we discussed how to add another mode of supply (i.e. Mode 5) in addition to the existing four modes of services supply as an idea. However, since it is difficult to fully reflect the relationship between service providers and consumers by the introduction of Mode 5, it is possible to consider ways to adopt the digital modes proposed by Ciuriak and Ptashkina (2018) within Mode 5.
In Chapter 6, two suggestions for institutional improvements were proposed. The first is related to the convergence of statistical classification on the balance of payments and service statistical classification in trade agreements, and the second is related to the collection of corporate- or individual-level data on service trade. The first issue is where international consensus is needed. Therefore, it is considered important to actively monitor the classification discussion of newly formed digital services and participate in international discussions so that our positions and opinions can be reflected in these processes of discussion. The second is regarding the policy directions for supplementing current statistics with various information and data from the broader perspective of services trade. As in most countries, Korea’s service statistics are in fact mostly from the balance of payments statistics, which are collected sporadically as needed, resulting in a lack of statistical consistency. Therefore, this report discusses the approaches for improvement of Korea’s service statistics in three directions, focusing on the Korea’s legal system adjustment, improvement of service trade statistics governance, and establishment of a comprehensive service trade statistics platform.