Commentary: CIFTIS opens door of cooperation wider for shared benefit

By Lyu Hui (Xinhua) 14:46, September 08, 2023

This photo taken on Sept. 1, 2023 shows an interior view of the China National Convention Center in Beijing, capital of China. (Xinhua/Hao Jianwei)

BEIJING, Sept. 8 (Xinhuanet) -- Themed "Opening-up leads development, cooperation delivers the future," the 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) concluded on Wednesday, achieving fruitful results in multiple fields.

By the noon of Wednesday, the five-day service trade fair had made more than 1,100 achievements and attracted nearly 280,000 visitors.

Against the backdrop of sluggish world economy, the remarkable achievements speak volume of the charm of CIFTIS as a significant platform for countries and international organizations to share development opportunities through cooperation in trade in services and the services sector.

Featuring over 200 sideline events, including forums, negotiations, and summits, the fair attracted more than 80 countries and international organizations. More than 2,400 companies, including 500 of the world's top 500 and industry leading enterprises, participated in offline exhibitions and over 6,700 enterprises participated in the fair online.

The international enterprises attending the fair offline accounted for more than 20 percent of all the participating enterprises, further enhancing the fair's internationalization and worldwide influence.

As one of the world's largest and most comprehensive fairs for trade in services, the CIFTIS has demonstrated China's active role in strengthening cooperation to promote trade in services and propel global economic recovery.

The popularity and turnout of the fair also reflects the earnest desire of global enterprises to tap the huge potential of Chinese market.

Opening up of service sector expanded

In recent years, despite the complex and challenging external environment, China’s trade in services has seen rapid growth and shown resilience.

China's total service import and export volume reached a record 889.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, marking a year-on-year increase of 8.3 percent and maintaining its position as the world's second-largest for the ninth consecutive year.

Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said that China's service sector in the first half of this year accounted for 56 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), contributing 66 percent to economic growth. He added that 70 percent of foreign investment in China went to the service sector.

The CIFTIS has embodied China's consistent commitment to promoting high-standard opening up and cooperation for shared benefit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a series of measures for expanding the opening up of services sector in his address at the Global Trade in Services Summit of the 2023 CIFTIS via video.

"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.

By hosting CIFTIS, China endeavors to share the development opportunities of trade in services with the rest of the world, promote global trade exchanges and inject new impetus into the global economic recovery.

China is further opening up to global businesses, particularly in the services sector, said Gianpaolo Bruno, trade commissioner of Italian Trade Agency (ITA) Beijing Office and coordinator of ITA Offices in China and Mongolia, suggesting that's the main message China wants to deliver through this year's CIFTIS.

"Through its high-level opening-up, China embraced the rest of the world with a huge consumer market and a firm determination to promote common development for all, thus boosting confidence and adding certainty into the global economy," Abu Bakr Al-Deeb, advisor to the Cairo-based Arab Center for Research and Studies, told Xinhua during a recent interview.

Speaking at the CIFTIS, IMF Resident Representative for the People's Republic of China, Steven Alan Barnett, pointed out that the world economy is still facing challenges. He stressed the vital role of promoting global service trade development, with China serving as a key hub in Asian trade.

To accelerate the development of trade in services, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce promised in August that China would promote the introduction of negative lists for cross-border trade in services, cultivate new business modes and models for trade in services, and create new growth drivers for services exports.

Digitalization of services trade highlighted

The digital-driven, smart, green and low-carbon drive is a major feature of this year's fair, with numerous innovative exhibits showcased.

Over 60 enterprises and institutions launched a wide range of innovative products and cutting-edge technologies in such fields as artificial intelligence, healthcare, fin-tech, cultural creativity, etc, leading the industry's innovation trend.

Experts believed that digitalization, driven by innovation, is reshaping global service trade patterns, structures, rules, and the world trade landscape, acting as a catalyst for economic globalization and a new engine for international trade growth.

"The digital technology revolution has injected powerful new momentum into the development of the service trade," said Long Guoqiang, deputy head of the Development Research Center of the State Council, at a forum during CIFTIS 2023.

Data from the World Trade Organization reveals that global digital service trade reached 3.82 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022, marking a 3.9 percent year-on-year increase and accounting for 53.7 percent of global service trade.

China's service sector is accelerating upgrading, as the knowledge-intensive service supported by digital, smart and green technologies is becoming a new driving force for the high-quality development of China's trade in services.

The development of innovative technology and artificial intelligence in China has given birth to a large number of new business forms and models in services trade, stimulating the huge potential in service sector.

China's total digital service import and export value reached 371.08 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, up 3.2 percent year on year, the third highest growth rate among the top 10 countries in terms of digital service trade scale.

China's digital economy exceeded 50 trillion yuan (about 6.96 trillion U.S. dollars) for the first time in 2022, accounting for 41.5 percent of GDP.

Spurred by China's digitalization drive, many global enterprises converged to identify new business prospects at CIFTIS.

Participating in the fair for the second time this year, Intel China showcased its technologies and solutions in the areas of AI, personal computers, data centers and smart retail sales.

China has intensified its policy support to create a sound digital business environment. In August, China unveiled guidelines to attract foreign investment, including measures encouraging multinationals to grasp growth opportunities in the country's digital economic development.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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