China's vibrant drive for greater trade liberalization invigorates global services trade
Visitors walk past a wall with an image of Fuyan during the 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) at the China National Convention Center in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 3, 2023. [Xinhua/Sun Weitong]
China has long been wedded to bolstering services trade across the world, viewing it as a key component in the country's growth strategy and international cooperation.
by Xinhua writer Ma Qian
BEIJING -- China has long been wedded to bolstering services trade across the world, viewing it as a key component in the country's growth strategy and international cooperation.
Through the lens of the 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), the world's largest specialized fair of its kind, more international participants have witnessed China's stellar growth in services trade, and the development payoff from its accelerated higher-level opening-up.
Particularly, the opening-up of the service sector serves the development pattern of the country's domestic and international "dual circulation," as China perceives trade liberalization and its institutional opening-up in a broader setting of economic globalization, regarding such endeavors as its striking demonstrations to uphold multilateralism.
Most notably, China's domestic opening-up reforms are aligned with its deepened commitments to the international community, through offering growth-oriented policy agendas and facilitating robust commercial interactions, reducing uncertainty and injecting confidence into global businesses.
On the first day of CIFTIS on Sept. 2, Tesla unveiled its new version of Chinese-made Model 3 sedan, marking the first time the global car-making giant has launched a new model in China ahead of the United States.
Visitors learn about a new vehicle of Tesla during the 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) at China National Convention Center in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 3, 2023. [Xinhua/Ju Huanzong]
President of Tesla China Wang Hao opined that a platform like CIFTIS is an excellent window for multinational enterprises to understand the Chinese market, as they can be well-informed of consumers' thoughts in a short period of time and feel the market vibes up close.
In recent years, China has leveraged CIFTIS and other platforms such as the China International Import Expo to promote policy exchange and information sharing, as well as foster diverse partnerships with foreign governments, international organizations, business associations and enterprises.
That also forms an indissociable part of China's pledge to help more countries share its far-reaching development dividends through trade liberalization and facilitation.
China had expanded its share of global commercial services exports from 3 percent in 2005 to 5.4 percent in 2022, according to a report jointly released by the World Bank Group and the World Trade Organization in July.
In the first seven months of this year, China's services trade value grew 8.1 percent year on year to reach 3.67 trillion yuan (501.8 billion U.S. dollars), data from the Ministry of Commerce showed.
In cross-border economic and trade practices, Mohammed Al Ajlan, chairman of the Saudi-Chinese Business Council, pointed out that China "continues to take the initiative to encourage the expansion of exports of knowledge-intensive services, and strengthen the cross-border flow of advanced technological services."
That has "played a role in improving the industrial structure and promoting the process of modernization around the world," he stressed.
Visitors walk past the booth of Ajlan & Bros. Holding during the 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) at China National Convention Center in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 4, 2023. [Xinhua/Wu Wei]
As the world is saddled with weakening demand for goods and geo-economic fragmentation, there is an urgent need for the world's policy-makers to cement collaboration to overcome obstacles that hinder global trade and investment across the board.
In this regard, the Chinese leadership has vowed to safeguard the hard-won free trade and multilateral trading system during the 2023 CITFIS, on the back of its vibrant drive to enhance openness of the services sector and ensure a more supportive business environment.
In practice, the authorities have deepened reforms in the country's free trade zones (FTZs) to expand its globally-oriented network of high-standard FTZs.
On June 29, China's State Council issued a circular, which contains measures of six aspects to allow FTZs in Shanghai, Guangdong, Tianjin, Fujian and Beijing as well as the Hainan free trade port (FTP) as pilot forerunners to align their rules with high-standard international economic and trade rules to deepen institutional opening up.
The 33 detailed pilot measures proposed in the circular, mainly focusing on trade in goods and services, business environment and risk control, are expected to help the pilot areas explore more paths to deepen reform and broaden opening up.
With five measures directly related to facilitating customs clearance, the circular stressed the need to further improve the transparency of customs clearance time and reduce customs clearance costs.
People visit the booth of the Global Alliance for Trade in Services during the 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) at China National Convention Center in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 4, 2023. [Xinhua/Wu Wei]
Deeming a sound business climate a key determinant of greater gains from growing trade, China has offered easier entry conditions to foreign businesses. Noticeably, the authorities have streamlined administrative procedures and increased transparency in policy agendas with a set of significant reform measures, sending uplifting signals to the global business community.
The Ministry of Commerce canceled registration requirements for businesses engaged in foreign trade activities on Dec. 30, 2022, following a revision of the country's Foreign Trade Law.
In concrete terms, market entities are no longer required to provide foreign-trade operator registration materials in applying for import and export licenses, registration certificates of technology import and export contracts, quotas, state-owned trade qualifications, and other relevant documents.
A recent survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in South China showed that China is still the most favored destination for corporate investment, as over 90 percent of the surveyed companies consider China as one of their most important investment destinations, while 75 percent of the participants said they plan to reinvest in China in 2023.
The dynamism of China's services trade has brought various countries vast opportunities for export-led growth, inflows of foreign investment and further integration into global value chains.
China's vigorous drive to boost services trade liberalization and facilitation will continuously inject impetus into cross-border trade, thereby contributing to more sustainable globalization and a more open world economy.
The views don't necessarily reflect those of Qiushi Journal.