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China revs up service trade in its opening-up endeavors

Xinhua | August 22, 2023


Photo taken on Sept. 5, 2022 shows the Shougang Park during the 2022 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, capital of China. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

Despite a complex and severe external environment, China's service trade has sustained rapid growth with resilience, emerging as a highlight of high-standard opening up endeavors.

The total value of China's service trade climbed 12.9 percent year on year to nearly 6 trillion yuan (about 833.5 billion U.S. dollars) in 2022, retaining second spot globally for nine years in a row, said Chen Chunjiang, assistant minister of commerce.

Chen was speaking on Monday at a press conference about the China International Fair for Trade in Services 2023 (2023 CIFTIS), scheduled to take place in Beijing from Sept. 2 to 6.

Themed "openness leads development, cooperation creates a win-win future," the fair will be held at the China National Convention Center and Shougang Park. The two venues cover an exhibition area of 155,000 square meters.

"Efforts will be made to improve the functions of the CIFITS, making it the world's most influential fair for trade in services, injecting new impetus to the global economy," said Chen.


Having attracted over 600,000 exhibitors from 196 nations and regions since it was launched in 2012, the CIFITS acts as an important platform for China to expand opening-up, deepen cooperation and guide innovation.

This year's CIFITS features numerous overseas participants and abundant offline activities, playing a significant role in expanding international cooperation in service trade.

A total of 51 countries and 24 international organizations have already confirmed their participation, said Sima Hong, deputy mayor of Beijing.

As of Sunday, over 500 Global Fortune 500 companies and industry-leading enterprises are poised to showcase their accomplishments, and over 2,200 enterprises are gearing up to participate in offline exhibitions.

The United Kingdom, the guest country of honor of the 2023 CIFTIS, will assemble its largest-ever delegation for the fair this year, Sima said.

The 2023 CIFTIS is expected to see over 200 varied events, including a global services trade summit, exhibitions, forums, business promotion conferences and supportive activities.

Over 60 enterprises and institutions will launch an array of new products and technologies at the 2023 CIFITS, spanning the fields of artificial intelligence, financial technology, medical and health care, cultural creativity, injecting new vitality to the development of service trade, said Chen.


As China has deepened the opening-up of its service sector, it is expected that the scale of service trade will maintain growth throughout the year, and its trade structure will continue to optimize, said Chen.

China's service trade has witnessed improved quality and competitiveness, with knowledge-intensive services representing 43.5 percent of the total service trade in the first half of this year.

The digitalization of trade in services has been further accelerated. During the period, the country's digitally-delivered service trade increased by 12.3 percent year on year, 3.8 percentage points higher than the growth rate of total service trade, said Wang Dongtang, a senior official with the Ministry of Commerce.

The ministry will create a sound digital business environment, promote the digitalization of service outsourcing, and build national digital service export bases with high standards, Wang added.

China's travel service trade has rebounded rapidly, Wang said, adding that the trade value grew by 65.4 percent year on year to reach 650.94 billion yuan in the first half, becoming the fastest growing area in service trade.

He noted Chinese tourists have created huge benefits for the development of international tourism, and also boosted the growth of global trade and economic recovery.

The ministry will promote the introduction of negative lists for cross-border trade in services, upgrade the building of national demonstration zones for the innovative development of trade in services and cultivate new forms and models of service trade in more areas, said Chen.