China advances opening-up of service sector to unleash growth potential

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The Global Trade in Services Summit of the 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) is held in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 2, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei)

China on Saturday pledged to advance the opening-up of its service sector, a resolute move to unleash growth potential and share business opportunities with countries and enterprises worldwide.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a series of measures for expanding the opening up of services sector while addressing the Global Trade in Services Summit of the 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) via video.

Themed "Opening-up leads development, cooperation delivers the future," the 2023 CIFTIS is being held in Beijing from Sept. 2 to 6 and features over 200 varied events, including forums, negotiations, and summits.

Eighty-three countries and international organizations are attending the fair, and more than 2,400 companies are participating in offline exhibitions.


To make its development environment more open and inclusive, China will expand the globally-oriented network of high-standard free trade areas, and actively engage in negotiations on the negative list for trade in services and investment, Xi said. China will open wider in such services areas as telecommunications, tourism, law and vocational examinations, he said.

"We will widen access to China's services sector, advance the opening up in cross-border services trade in an orderly manner, improve the level of standardization of services trade, and steadily expand institutional opening up," Xi said.

Xi emphasized that the country will share the outcomes of the Chinese modernization drive with the rest of the world by vigorously boosting domestic demand, accelerating the building of a robust domestic market, taking the initiative to increase the imports of quality services, and encouraging more exports of knowledge-intensive services.

"We will lend new impetus to global development with the opportunities generated by China's vast market, and offer more and better Chinese services to the world through high-quality development in a bid to increase the sense of gains of people around the world," Xi said.

The CIFTIS has sent positive signals of China's persistence in economic globalization and embodied China's consistent commitment to sharing development opportunities with the rest of the world, said Jack Chan, chairman of EY China, adding that it plays an important role as a platform for promoting global economic recovery.

Jin Xu, president of the China Association of International Trade, believes that the CIFTIS promotes exchanges and cooperation between China and the rest of the world and helps domestic enterprises seek opportunities and tap the potential to advance China's services trade to a new level.


Experts said China's continuous opening up in the services trade would unleash further growth opportunities for global businesses.

The CIFTIS and further opening up of the service sector would present massive opportunities for many foreign businesses as China's services trade still has enormous growth potential, Li Jun, head of the Institute of International Trade in Services at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told Xinhua.

International companies can build ties with trading and investment partners via the platform for long-term cooperation. Other countries can also learn from the CIFTIS and develop their own platforms for trade in services, which would help drive the recovery of global trade and economies, Li said.

The trade in services plays a specific role in stabilizing the global economy when the trade in goods is affected by international uncertainties, said Zhuang Rui, executive dean of the Institute of International Economy at the University of International Business and Economics.

China's institutional innovations and improved business environment offer a strong guarantee for a booming services trade, Zhuang told Xinhua.

In 2022, China's services imports and exports grew 12.9 percent yearly to reach a record high of nearly 6 trillion yuan (about 835.8 billion U.S. dollars), ranking second in the world for the ninth consecutive year, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.

China's continuous opening up and optimization of its business environment and active promotion of the digitalized and green development of trade in services greatly benefit domestic and foreign businesses, said Gu Fan, general manager of Growth Acceleration, Amazon Web Services Greater China.

Gu said his company will continue to tap into the Chinese market with further investment, and he is looking forward to assisting more companies with their sustainability visions.

The green and low-carbon drive is a major feature of the event, which has several related themed forums and exhibitions of cutting-edge green services, technologies, and business models.

People in fields such as supply chains, IT, construction, and finance are closely watching opportunities in the global low-carbon scenario, especially the vast opportunities in China's dual carbon targets, said Qin Hu, vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and chief representative of EDF's Beijing Representative Office.

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