The Importance of Service Coalitions

What is a Service Coalition?

Coalitions and their Impact on Stakeholders

International Coalition Movement

CARICOM Coalition Movement

 

What is a Service Coalition?

Coalitions of Service Industries have been established around the world from as early as the 1980s.

A service coalition is an organization of stakeholders related to the services sector who may have diverse interests, but who share common industry-wide objectives – the development of the service industry.  The objectives of the stakeholders are more efficiently accomplished through a coalition engagement.

The benefits of establishing a well-functioning service coalition are far ranging and include the organization of the services sector; awareness building of services stakeholders; representation to the government on issues affecting the service industry including trade negotiation processes and policy and legislation changes; enhancing the competitiveness of services sectors and private sector businesses and promoting and facilitating services exports, amongst others.

Coalitions and their Impact on Stakeholders

Governments

  • The establishment of a services sector focal point can aid governments in:
  • Collecting information from private sector (data, success stories, sectoral positions, feedback on proposed policies, incentives, legislation);
  • Disseminating information to private sector;
  • Serving as a ‘voice’ for the services sector – governments tend to respond well to organized lobbying – thereby ensuring that the government best serves the needs of its stakeholders;
  • Capturing services data;
  • A coalition can also play a large role in organizing the services sector via the formation of new sectoral associations and offering support to existing associations, thereby creating new focal points and/or improving those already established for further government dialogue;
  • A coalition can push government to seek/adopt fair, multilateral rules for trade in services;
  • A coalition can raise the profile of the services sector, encouraging governments to adopt a ‘services first’ approach;
  • A coalition can raise the profile of the national services sector, encouraging investors to invest and enhancing the credibility and competitiveness of the services sector, thereby increasing investment and foreign exchange;
  • A coalition can also serve as a vehicle for aligning with other international coalitions in raising the profile of the domestic services sector internationally.

Negotiators

  • A coalition offers a focal point for the collection and dissemination of information;
  • A coalition offers a platform via which private sector positions and developmental needs regarding trade negotiations are more readily obtainable;
  • The coalition serves as a partner in hosting informational forums for the private sector regarding trade related issues;
  • A coalition can assist in the simplification of technical trade information to ensure a better understanding at private sector level.

Service Associations

  • A coalition can assist in the establishment of new service associations and in the strengthening of existing associations through administrative and developmental support;
  • A coalition can encourage and enable service associations to implement export-focused services and offers training regarding the same;
  • A coalition can assist in the development of national sectoral strategies, involving the input from various related service associations;
  • A coalition can lobby on behalf of service associations or services sectors to governments or other international agents;
  • A coalition can facilitate the establishment of Mutual Recognition Agreements or address related market entry/access issues;
  • A coalition establishes relationships and networks with other service associations across the region or internationally;
  • A coalition can facilitate networking opportunities amongst association members;
  • A coalition offers service associations the opportunity to raise public awareness on the roles of the association and the types of services being offered by its membership;
  • A coalition can encourage services associations to adopt high, international standards.

Private Sector Operators

  • A coalition can raise the awareness of trade in services issues to private sector operators and draws to their attention information that will affect their competitiveness;
  • A coalition can simplify technical trade material for its membership via web platforms, newsletters or through workshops and other forums;
  • A coalition can offer training and other support that will enhance the competitiveness of the private sector;
  • A coalition can provide export opportunities and elaborate export promotion activities such as trade missions;
  • A coalition can provide market information;
  • A coalition can assist in the formation of strategic alliances nationally and internationally;
  • A coalition can offer networking opportunities both nationally and internationally;
  • A coalition can assist its individual members in establishing credibility through alignment with the coalition or via initiatives such as awards programmes.

Public

  • A coalition raises the awareness of trade in services issues;
  • A coalition raises the profile of the services sector and ensures that the value and contribution of the services sector is well understood.

Hustler, Michelle, Primack, David.  (2010). “Harnessing Services Trade for Development: A Background and Guide to Service Coalitions”, DRAFT Paper, ILEAP.

International Coalition Movement

The coalition movement began in the 1980’s with the establishment of the US Coalition of Service Industries (USCSI) and have been since established in countries throughout the world.

Like USCSI, most service coalitions in developed countries focus on lobbying and raising the profile of the service sector.  These efforts traditionally revolve around the market access needs of their membership – i.e. promoting services liberalization.  For example, these coalitions are actively involved in negotiation processes, providing position papers from their membership or interfacing with the negotiators directly.  Their interventions are usually focused on the liberalization necessary, or other types of market access changes required to increase the market share of their members.

The coalitions in developed countries also seek to raise the profile of the services sector by providing statistics and other evidence regarding to the importance of this sector.  They typically encourage governments to focus attention on this sector as it relates to necessary policy changes, incentives, or other initiatives that the government might put in place that their members believe would enhance the competitiveness of the sector.  Such pronouncements are common when global leaders meet on major economic issues (e.g. G8, G20, WEF, etc.)

Illustrative list of active service coalitions and related organizations

Australian Services Roundtable www.servicesaustralia.org.au
Barbados Coalition of Service Industries www.bcsi.org.bb
Brazilian Association of Information Technology and Communication Companies www.brasscom.org.br
Canadian Services Coalition www.canadianservicescoalition.com
European Services Forum www.esf.be
Coalition of Service Industries (US) www.uscsi.org
Hong Kong Coalition of Service Industries www.hkcsi.org.hk
International Financial Services London (UK) www.ifsl.org.uk
Jamaican Coalition of Service Industries www.jamaicatradeandinvest.org
Japan Services Network www.keidanren.or.jp
National Association of Software and Service Companies (India) www.nasscom.in
National Federation of Service Industries (Norway) www.nhoservice.no
Saint Kitts and Nevis Coalition of Service Industries www.skncsi.org
Saint Lucia Coalition of Service Industries www.slcsi.org
Services Exporting Committee of the Santiago Chamber of Commerce www.chilexportaservicios.cl
Singapore Coalition of Service Industries www.sbf.org.sg
Taiwan Coalition of Service Industries www.roccoc.org.tw
Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Service Industries www.ttcsi.org
Uganda Services Exporters Association www.ugandaexportsonline.com/service_exports.htm
Union Argentina de Entidades de Servicios www.udes.org.ar
Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce (New Zealand) www.wgtn-chamber.co.nz

CARICOM Coalition Movement

At a 2001 meeting of the CARICOM Council of Trade and Economic Development, a regional services sector development plan was agreed upon by CARICOM Heads of Government.  The plan included the establishment of national coalitions in each member state, as well as a regional coalition.  The CARICOM Secretariat was consequently mandated to support the formation of these organizations.

The twelve objectives of a national services coalition proposed by CARICOM are as follows:

  • to provide the service providers with knowledge of export opportunities;
  • to organise trade missions to identify and exploit market opportunities;
  • to encourage service providers to engage in developing export programmes and promotional activities through collaboration locally, regionally, and internationally;
  • to promote the further development and competitiveness of the services sector;
  • to ensure that the highest industry standards are met by all service providers;
  • to educate the service providers on relevant aspects of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, Free Trade of the Americas, World Trade Organisation, African-Caribbean-Pacific/European Union, and any other trade agreements or developments that can affect trade in services;
  • to educate service providers on relevant Government policies that can assist or hinder the export of services;
  • to represent the interests of the services sector, including lobbying Government and promoting fair multinational rules for trade in services;
  • to promote the organization of non-organized service providers;
  • to advise government on market conditions/trends with a view to implement/relax policies to protect local practitioners;
  • to encourage strategic alliances/partnerships with regional and extra-regional counterparts; and
  • to ensure that factors such as population, GDP, size of country and educational resources are contemplated during the implementation of CSME.

To date the CARICOM national coalitions are at different stages of implementation and execution, with fully functioning (i.e. staffed) coalitions in eight member states (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago).  Further information on the various national coalitions can be found here.