Guide

Exporting and importing services

Introduction

Service exports make up about a quarter of UK international trade. UK businesses are major exporters in sectors such as financial services and consulting. UK businesses also buy services from overseas - such as outsourcing customer services to overseas suppliers.

Whether you are importing or exporting services, many of the same basic rules apply as for trade in goods. But there are key differences, from how services are marketed to the taxes and regulations that apply.

Important: If the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 with no deal, the UK will no longer operate under the European Economic Area (EEA) regulations for  the cross-border trade in services.

Read more about providing services to EEA and EFTA countries after EU Exit.

UK-based services exporters may also benefit from the commitments of UK trading partners under the World Trade Organisation's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

This guide covers legal issues for international trade in services, marketing services internationally and payment for international trade in services.