The service sector has traditionally been seen as one whose outputs are purely non-tradable. This has resulted in much of the research on international trade and trade policy being focused mainly on agriculture and manufacturing. Similarly, research on multinationals and foreign direct investment (FDI) has primarily focused on manufacturing firms and industries. The EU, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and World Bank have harmonised and made more accessible data on the interactions among trade flows, regulatory regimes and the European political economy. The EU-funded GIST (Globalization, Investment, and Services Trade) project aimed to develop a cohort of European researchers focused on international trade and FDI in the service sectors. The consortium, comprising research teams from seven European universities, worked on integrating this network into the policy community. The focus of the research was on developing sound analytical methods and empirical findings in the area of services. Three major areas of research defined the GIST project's networking and training aspects. These were theoretical analysis of FDI and cross-border trade in services; theoretical and empirical analysis of interactions between trade flows, regulatory regimes and political factors; and econometric analysis of trade and FDI linkages in services. The training and research approaches involved economic analysis as well as institutional analysis and, where appropriate, incorporated legal and institutional aspects. Progress in these areas also provided important opportunities for the introduction and development of doctoral work to generate even more relevant data and knowledge. Project results over its four-year lifespan included four annual conferences and summer schools, as well as the recruitment of 20 researchers within the network. These researchers worked diligently in their host institutions, focusing on their training and promoting transfer of knowledge. Business growth and competitiveness is likely to benefit from this research if it is properly exploited.
Competitiveness, service sector, GIST, globalisation, investment, services trade