Combining the export promotion of products and services: the case of South Africa
With the trade in services playing an increasingly important role in boosting economic growth and development in many countries, governments and business entities – particularly in developing countries – should be devoting more time to exploring export opportunities for the services sector. However, a major challenge is that the services sector is often not well understood by government, and service providers themselves lack insight into and contacts in foreign markets. Furthermore, many governments concentrate more on the export promotion of products, while giving the services sector relatively less attention. This study investigates how two complementary decision support models (DSMs), for products and services respectively, can help to address the challenge of identifying realistic export opportunities in both these sectors. Specifi cally, the two DSMs, which incorporate a scientifi cally designed fi ltering process, reveal which products and services have the greatest potential in a range of viable markets. This linked approach to identifying export opportunities is an important step in encouraging co-operation between tangible goods producers and service providers, and lays the foundation for the design of mutually benefi cial export marketing programmes. The study also shows how export promotion agencies in South Africa can use the results of both models to develop strategic plans aimed at boosting product and service exports in specifi ed markets, thereby contributing meaningfully to the country’s internationalisation drive.
Key words: international trade, products, services, diversifi cation, export opportunities, product-service combinations, decision support model (DSM), South Africa