chapter  8
20 Pages

Services liberalization: the need for complementary policies

ByTHAM SIEW YEAN AND LOKE WAI HENG

The services sector covers a broad range of economic activities spanning everything from transport to financial transactions. Some services are delivered direct to the final consumer, but increasingly they are being used as intermediate inputs in the production of manufactured goods. Because the diversity and multiplicity of services make it difficult to provide a rigorous definition, services are often referred to by their general characteristics: intangible, inseparable, heterogeneous and perishable. In other words, many services have no physical identity, requiring the physical presence of the consumer and the producer in a shared environment. This is known as the proximity burden of services (Christen and Francois 2009, cited in Francois and Hoekman 2009: 6).