Trade in services and the coronavirus: many developing countries are at risk

Max Mendez- Parra, March 2020


The coronavirus pandemic has already led to major economic and social impacts across the world. In many developing countries, the fall in commodity prices is having a very strong effect. Moreover, the fall in demand is affecting other exports, such as those of manufactures. Trade in services appears to be being overlooked in considerations of the implications of the lockdowns on economies. Lack of good data makes it harder to understand the importance of services in trade. This note discusses how the lockdowns could affect trade in services. It also assesses the vulnerability of many developing countries based on the importance of services in their exports and on the composition of the most affected sectors in their exports.

Photo: Trade activity in a port in Cambodia. Chhor Sokunthea/ World Bank. Licence: (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)