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Premier Wen urges further opening up in service sector

(Xinhua)

16:40, May 28, 2012

BEIJING, May 28 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Monday called for increased opening up in the country's service sector and encouraged local service providers to go global to boost the industry's share in foreign trade.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the first Beijing International Fair for Trade in Service, Wen said China will promote service outsourcing in areas of software, information and construction, while actively expanding imports to bring advanced technology and management experience from overseas.

Over the coming five years, the value of China's services imports will top 1.25 trillion U.S. dollars, Wen said.

China's service sector attracted 55.2 billion U.S. dollars in foreign investment in 2011, overtaking the manufacturing industry for the first time.

"Fostering growth in the service sector is the main direction for China's economic transformation and restructuring, as well as an internal call to improve people's living standards," Wen said.

Although huge demand fueled double-digit growth in the service industry in past years, a low share in the economic output and a persistent deficit in the sector posed challenges for the industry.

In terms of service trade volume, China currently ranks fourth in the world, with 419.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2011. But put into the context of the country's huge economic output, the ratio of the service trade, 43 percent, remained much lower than the 70 percent seen in most developed countries, according to Qiu Hong, assistant commerce minister.

To boost the share of the service industry in the economy, China stated in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) that it aims to bring the sector's proportion of the gross domestic product (GDP) to 47 percent by 2015 and make it a strategic focus for the country's industrial restructuring and upgrading.

Hosted by the Ministry of Commerce and the Beijing municipal government, the Beijing Fair, akin to China's major commodities fair, the Canton Fair, attracted more than 22,000 service providers from 82 countries and regions to foster trade in the sector for the coming five days.

The Beijing Fair will become an annual event offering a platform for global service buyers and sellers.

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