Global Sourcing of Services: How Well Are the New EU Member States Coping with the Challenges? (Part I)

by Ghibutiu, Agnes and Poladian, Simona
Published in Romanian Journal of Economic Forecasting
, 2009, volume 10 issue 1, 123-135

 Requires a PDF viewer such as Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader


In the current debate on services offshoring, the New EU member states (NMS) have increasingly drawn the attention of economists and politicians, as well as the public.
Particularly in the light of the recent waves of EU enlargement these countries have been considered as highly attractive locations for offshored services both from a European and global perspective. While a fairly large amount of anecdotal evidence documents the NMS high potentialities in terms of service offshoring, academic research on this topic is limited. This paper aims to contribute to this discussion.
Drawing on recent literature on the complex issue of service globalisation, the paper investigates NMS trade and FDI flows in services over the period 1995-2007 to find evidence of enhanced offshoring-related activities in these countries. The focus is on NMS-10, i.e. NMS-12 excluding Cyprus and Malta. Given the shortcomings of available statistical data and instruments for gauging the scale and impact of services offshoring, the paper adopts a three-tier approach based on BoP trade and FDI statistics, complemented by alternative sources of information.
Notwithstanding the caveats associated with this kind of empirical exercise, the paper documents an accelerated pace of offshoring-related activities in the selected NMS, under both forms: international outsourcing and captive offshoring. Its findings show that the fast growing exports in some individual service categories in recent years, coupled with the favourable ongoing changes in the structure and performance of NMS services trade are largely driven by enhanced offshoring activities hosted by their economies. Further, the paper highlights the NMS capabilities to cope with the challenges raised by the increasingly competitive global offshoring landscape, as measured by competitiveness indicators. Finally, the findings of the paper confirm that current anecdotal information and consulting companies-based projections on NMS growing attractiveness as targets of offshoring decisions by TNC originating both inside and outside EU-15 are widely backed up by available statistical data. The paper is organised in two parts under the same title.

Keywords: globalisation, services, international trade, FDI, New EU Member States
JEL Classification:
F02, L80, O52, O57