China to Open Wider in Several Service Industries, Says President Xi Jinping
China will open wider in several service industries to promote cross-border trade and investment, President Xi Jinping said on Saturday.
Easing Market Access and Promoting Cross-Border Services Trade
In a video address to the 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services in Beijing, Xi said China would ease market access in the country’s service sector, promote the opening of the cross-border services trade and steadily expand “institutional opening-up”, a term that refers to reforming domestic standards to bring them in line with international norms.
Areas of Expansion
According to Xi, China will carry out negotiations on the so-called negative list for trade and investment in services and open wider in areas such as telecommunications, tourism, law, and vocational examinations.
Zhao Xijun, a finance professor at Renmin University in Beijing, said boosting services trade and opening the sector would be a challenge for China as they involved different standards adopted by different countries and cultures.
“China has a great market for various services, including telecoms, law, tourism, and vocational exams. However, the government has a lot of work to do to align domestic standards with international norms,” Zhao said.
“In addition, there are national security concerns to address. Before a full opening up of the service sector, a mechanism for dispute resolution must be worked out,” he said.
Efforts to Boost Economy
China has faced a sluggish domestic economic recovery since ending its rigid Covid-19 restrictions in December.
On Friday, Beijing released its latest set of support measures to lift household consumption, rescue the property market, and shore up the yuan. The policies are so far some of the most substantial to boost post-Covid consumption, including lowering rates for existing mortgage holders and tax cuts for families with children and elderly relatives.
Rich Chinese and Their Wealth Increasing at Slower Rate
In recent months, the world’s second-largest economy has lost steam with a weak yuan, while property woes and local debt stress have fanned widespread fears that there could be an outbreak of increased financial risk.
Commitment to High-Standard Opening Up
“China will stay committed to advancing high-standard opening up, pursuing Chinese modernization on all fronts with high-quality development and creating new opportunities for open cooperation across the world,” Xi said.
Xi reiterated China’s commitment to applying “high-standard international economic and trade rules” in certain demonstration zones, free-trade zones, and free-trade ports as a way to boost openness in the services sector.
Plans for Developing the Service Industry
Xi highlighted China’s plans for developing its service industry, such as promoting the integration of trade in services with the modern service industry, high-end manufacturing, and modern agriculture.
He also called for a national trading market for voluntary greenhouse gas emission reductions and the safeguarding of the free trade and multilateral trading system.
China International Fair for Trade in Services
The government-sponsored China International Fair for Trade in Services takes place in Beijing from September 2 to 6.
The country’s trade in services grew 8.1 per cent year on year to about 3.67 trillion yuan (US$507 billion) in total value in the first seven months of this year, with the services trade deficit standing at 589.9 billion yuan, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.
Services exports declined 6.3 per cent year on year to some 1.54 trillion yuan, while services imports stood at nearly 2.13 trillion yuan, up 21.6 per cent from a year ago.