China vows further opening up services sector at 2023 CIFTIS, injects confidence to global services trade
Published: Sep 02, 2023 08:24 PM
Photo:Li Hao/GT

Photo:Li Hao/GT

China will share the achievements of the Chinese modernization drive while making joint efforts with the rest of the world to get the global economy onto a track of sustained recovery, Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the Global Trade in Services Summit of the 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) via video link on Saturday in Beijing.

China will expand the opening-up of the services sector, including telecommunications, tourism and legal services, Xi said, noting that China will work to expand domestic demand, accelerate the building of a robust domestic market, take the initiative to increase imports of high-quality services, and encourage more exports of knowledge-intensive services.

Against the backdrop of a global industrial chain crisis, the lingering impact of Russia-Ukraine conflict, the US' continued disruption of the global industrial chain and slowing global trade, analysts and company executives said the message shared by China's top leader would inject fresh confidence into the global community.

With the theme "openness leads development, cooperation creates a win-win future," the 2023 CIFTIS kicked off in Beijing on Saturday.

The event has attracted over 2,400 enterprises and representatives of 83 countries and international organizations, with the proportion of international participants exceeding 20 percent.

"Global trade in services and services industry cooperation are injecting a powerful impetus into promoting economic globalization, restoring the vitality of the global economy, and enhancing the resilience of the global economy," Hoffman Cheong, EY North China Managing Partner, said in a statement sent to the Global Times.

Being the first CIFTIS after China optimized epidemic response, this year's event is bigger in scale and includes more high-level exchanges.

"A number of forums, conferences and other activities highlight the theme of internationalization and play the role of expanding an open platform," Norman Sze, vice chairman of Deloitte China, told the Global Times.

"The most fundamental strength of the services trade industry lies in people, and the ultimate beneficiary users of services will also be the people. Only when trade in services achieves great development can China's population of 1.4 billion enjoy the biggest dividends of the digital economy in China's huge economy," Sze noted.

Photo:Li Hao/GT

Photo:Li Hao/GT

Sharing benefits

In his speech, Xi said that China will deepen cooperation connected to services and digital trade with Belt and Road partner countries, facilitating the cross-border flow of resources and production factors and fostering more growth areas for economic cooperation.

"We share China's interest to encourage companies to improve the volume of trade in services. About 14 percent of Argentina's total exports is trade in services. But specifically with China, that proportion is still very low," Rodrigo Gomez, a trade representative from the Embassy of Argentine Republic, told the Global Times on Saturday.

"These are very significant opportunities, and we think it will bring a lot of mutual benefits for both sides," Gomez said.

"China's cooperation with BRI partners has great potential in the soft connection aspect, which are technology and standards-driven," Wan Zhe, an economist and professor at the Belt and Road School of Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times on Saturday.

"The cooperation in the services trade, including the digital sector, platform economy, big data, logistics and green energy services will be a great addition to existing, fruitful cooperation of hard infrastructure such as railways, roads, ports and pipelines," Wan said, noting that such cooperation could help Global South to make a swift progress by taking shortcuts amid a new-round global economic competition.

Photo:Li Hao/GT

Photo:Li Hao/GT

Fast growing services trade

Despite global headwinds, China's trade in services grew at a faster rate than trade in goods.

In the first seven months of this year, China's services trade value grew 8.1 percent year-on-year to 3.67 trillion yuan ($503.42 billion), data from the Ministry of Commerce showed on Thursday. During the same period, trade in goods grew at 0.4 percent year-on-year.

On Friday, the China Securities Regulatory Commissions said the Beijing Stock Exchange (BSE) is now implementing a new round of comprehensive reform including further expanding its investor team and encouraging professional institutions to boost the market's liquidity.

The BSE, announced by President Xi at the 2021 CIFTIS, aims to support innovation and development of small and medium-sized firms and deepen reforms of the "new third board." The number of listed firms at BSE grew threefold to 217 and has already attracted 5.57 million qualified investors.