Against the background of the increasing services content of many manufactured goods, the paper attempts to assess the role of (domestically and internationally) purchased service inputs for the relative export performance of countries in a particular manufacturing industry. It estimates an empirical model of export market shares for EU15 countries and twelve disaggregated manufacturing industries over the period 1995 to 2007. Whereas most traditional explanations are based on the influence of relative costs and technology-related variables, this paper emphasises the importance of services as a determinant of both product quality and the sectors' productivity. The service linkage variables are based on national input–output tables. The analysis finds a positive and highly significant impact of services on export market shares of manufactured goods. Distinguishing between domestically-sourced service inputs and imports results in a robust and highly significant impact of international service linkages, while the analysis finds no impact of domestic service linkages.