Top 5 services exporters in the world

The top five exporters of commercial services in the world during 2021 were the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland and France.

With $795 billion in services sold internationally in 2021, the United States remained the world’s leading exporter, with a 13% share of the global market, according to data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

This was followed, at some distance, by the United Kingdom ($418 billion).

China, the leading exporter among developing economies, ranked third ($392 billion).

The top five services exporters in the developing world were Asian. In 2021, they accounted for 17% of the world market.

According to balance of payments concepts (International Monetary Fund -IMF-, 2009) and national accounts (United Nations), services are understood as the result of a productive activity that modifies the conditions of consumer units or facilitates the exchange of products or financial assets.

Exporters of services

International trade in services takes place when a service is supplied in any of the following ways: from one economy to another (services cross the border); within one economy to service a consumer in another economy (the consumer crosses the border); or through the presence of natural persons from one economy in another economy (the supplier crosses the border).

Top five services exporters, 2021 (Billions of United States dollars).

All regions recovered in 2021

Looking at trends by development status and region, a solid recovery in services exports was observed in all groups of economies.

The largest relative increase was in the developing economies of the Americas, where travel and transportation have played a prominent role and had the most ground to make up following the pandemic.

Meanwhile, growth in Asian developing economies was less driven by the recovery in travel, but rather by a significant increase in transport exports, as well as in the intellectual property, insurance and business services that these economies supplied abroad.


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