As the 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) kicked off Saturday in Beijing, the country has shown the world its unwavering commitment to wider opening up in the services trade sector and a firm determination to further promote global economic recovery.
Delivering a video speech at the Global Trade in Services Summit of the 2023 CIFTIS, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday vowed to work with all countries and parties to advance inclusive development through openness, promote connectivity and integration through cooperation, foster drivers for development through innovation, and create a better future through shared services, in a bid to jointly get the world economy onto the track of sustained recovery.
Themed “openness leads development, cooperation creates a win-win future,” the 2023 CIFTIS takes place in the Chinese capital from September 2 to 6.
More inclusive environment
Since it was launched in 2012, the CIFTIS has attracted a total of over 600,000 exhibitors from 196 nations and regions. This year, guests from 59 countries and 24 international organizations are taking part in the fair. Over 500 Global Fortune 500 companies and industry-leading enterprises are showcasing their accomplishments at the 2023 CIFTIS, taking the overall internationalization rate to 20 percent.
In his video speech, President Xi stressed that China will make its development environment more open and more inclusive.
“We will expand the globally-oriented network of high-standard free trade areas, actively engage in negotiations on the negative list for trade in services and investment, and open wider in such services areas as telecommunications, tourism, law and vocational examinations. Our national integrated demonstration zone for greater openness in the services sector as well as eligible pilot free trade zones and free trade port will be the first to align their policies with high-standard international economic and trade rules,” said Xi.
He added China will widen access to its services sector, advance opening up of cross-border services trade in an orderly manner, improve the level of standardization of services trade, and steadily expand institutional opening up.
China’s State Council in mid-August unveiled guidelines containing 24 specific measures to further optimize China’s foreign investment environment and beef up foreign investment inflow.
These measures include expanding pilot areas to open wider in terms of services, encouraging foreign firms and their R&D centers to undertake major sci-tech projects, facilitating the travel of senior executives, technicians and their families, and enhancing the expertise of personnel in local government offices handling foreign investment.
Amid rising unilateralism, protectionism and de-globalization, China continues to deepen opening up and optimize its business environment, expanding its “friend circle” in trade services. China has service trade relations with nearly 240 countries and regions and has signed bilateral service trade cooperation agreements with 14 countries.
Path of innovation-driven development
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, and cultural creativity, injecting new vitality to the development of service trade.
Xi on Saturday noted China will improve the path of innovation-driven development.
“China will move faster to cultivate new drivers for the digitalization of services trade, roll out pilot reform on basic systems for data, and promote the development of digital trade through reform and innovation,” said Xi.
He added China will push forward the integrated development of trade in services with modern services industries, high-end manufacturing and modern agriculture to unleash more vitality for innovation.
China has advanced trials for innovative development of trade in services across the board. For instance, the country has established pilot zones for Silk Road e-commerce cooperation and built national demonstration zones for innovative development of trade in services, in order to encourage innovation in trade and promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
The digitalization of trade in services has been further accelerated. According to Chinese Ministry of Commerce, in the first half of this year, 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.
At the end of his remarks, Xi called on all parties to join hands together in upholding the hard-won free trade and multilateral trading regime, share in the historic opportunities in the development of global trade in services, and work together for an even brighter and more prosperous future of the world.