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Published: 13 December 2013

International trade in services in surplus in 2012 despite increased imports

According to the final data of Statistics Finland's statistics on international trade in services for 2012, international trade in services was still EUR 2.1 billion in surplus even though the increase in service imports of over EUR 2.1 billion to EUR 13.1 billion clearly decreased the surplus compared with the previous year. The surplus diminished for the first time since 2009, and the last time it fell below EUR three billion was in 2006. Service exports only grew by EUR 0.4 billion and amounted to EUR 15.3 billion.

Imports, exports and surplus of international trade in services 2002–2012, mill. euro

Imports, exports and surplus of international trade in services 2002–2012, mill. euro

Imports grew from the year before in all service items apart from construction services. The change in imports of unclassified intra-group services, as well as royalties and licence fees explains around one-half of the overall growth in imports. The most significant service items in service exports were unclassified business services, computer and information services, and royalties and licence fees. The share of these three items in service exports decreased, however, by three percentage points to 85 per cent, as only royalties and licence fees grew compared with the previous year.

Examined by service item, the biggest surplus from international trade in services was generated from unclassified business services and computer and information services. There were most service items in deficit in research and development services and advertising, market research and public opinion polling.

The main destination countries of service exports in 2012 were Sweden, the United States and Ireland. Exports to Ireland grew most and more than tripled compared with the previous year. Exports to India continued to fall strongly and were only one-quarter from the top figures in 2008 to 2010. The most important countries of service imports were still Germany, the United States, Sweden and the United Kingdom, which all increased their share of imports of services. In imports, the share of Ireland also nearly tripled compared with the year before.

Service exports to EU15 countries rose to EUR 6.2 billion, which is 40 per cent of exports of services. The share of EU15 countries increased by six percentage points from 2011. This was mainly affected by the more than tripled exports to Ireland. Imports from EU15 countries went up to EUR 7.9 billion in 2012. The share of EU15 countries of all imports of services rose from 2011, being 60 per cent.

The statistics on international trade in services are based on Statistics Finland's annual and quarterly inquiries on international trade in services. The data include service trade between group enterprises. The statistics do not include data on transport, tourism, insurance and financial services. The data are used in the compilation of national accounts and as part of the balance of payments produced by the Bank of Finland.

Source: International trade in services 2012, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Risto Sippola 09 1734 3383, Pauliina Peltonen 09 1734 2585, Marjatta Tenhunen 09 1734 2927,

Director in charge: Hannele Orjala

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Tables in databases

Appendix tables

Updated 13.12.2013

Referencing instructions:

Statistics: International trade in services [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-3525. 2012. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 21.10.2019].
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