International trade in commercial services increases over six years

Embargoed until 10:45am  –  22 February 2012

Census of International Trade in Services and Royalties: Year ended June 2011  –  Media Release

New Zealand companies exported $4.0 billion of commercial services during the June 2011 year. This was up $1.5 billion from the June 2005 year, Statistics New Zealand said today.

Over this same period, imports of commercial services increased by $2.3 billion, to reach $5.8 billion.

These are the key results from the 2011 Census of International Trade in Services and Royalties, which was last conducted in 2005.

Commercial services include information technology services, engineering services, royalties, management fees between related companies, and other business services such as accounting and legal services. 

“Companies are buying and selling more services internationally, which is an indicator that New Zealand is becoming a more globalised economy,” Balance of Payments manager John Morris said.

Exports of commercial services accounted for 29.6 percent of total service exports in 2011, up from 19.8 percent in 2005. Imports of commercial services were 39.8 percent of total service imports, compared with 30.3 percent in 2005.

The increase in service exports was partly driven by New Zealand companies receiving more management fees from their overseas subsidiaries. Information technology companies also received more revenue from abroad for their software design and royalties.

The increase in imports of services was partly due to a rise in management fees paid by New Zealand companies to their foreign head offices. The growth of management fees reflects the increasing presence of foreign companies in New Zealand.

While Australia remained New Zealand’s top services trading partner, service imports from Asia increased. Imports of commercial services from Singapore and China represented 8.1 percent of total commercial service imports in 2011, up from 2.9 percent in 2005 

For the first time, the Census of International Trade in Services and Royalties measured how service exports were delivered to overseas clients. Of all commercial service exports, 85.8 percent were provided to foreign customers by the Internet, email, or phone.

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician
22 February 2012


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