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China rolls out cross-border trade in services negative lists

Source: Xinhua Updated: 2024-03-25

BEIJING -- China has rolled out national and pilot free trade zone (FTZ) versions of negative lists for cross-border trade in services to boost opening up, the Ministry of Commerce announced on Friday.

It is the first time that China has formulated a negative list for cross-border trade in services at the national level, according to the ministry. The national-level list consists of 71 items.

The pilot FTZ version of negative list for cross-border trade in services contains 68 items in total, and covers fields including occupational qualifications of natural persons, professional services, finance and culture, the ministry said.

Such moves are China's major measures to align itself with high-standard international economic and trade rules and boost institutional opening up.

China released its first negative list in services trade at the Hainan Free Trade Port in July 2021, specifying that domestic and overseas service providers should enjoy equal access in sectors not on this list, said ministry spokesperson He Yadong at a press conference in November.

The national version of the negative list compiles and summarizes market entry measures across various sectors, emphasizing that services and their providers in sectors not included on the list will be treated equally, whether at home or abroad, according to the ministry.

It anticipates that the list will effectively increase transparency and predictability in the country's management of cross-border trade in services.

The pilot FTZ version of the negative list specifies measures to ease restrictions on vocational qualifications. It permits foreigners to take examinations to become registered urban and rural planners, real estate appraisers, auctioneers, supervision engineers, veterinarians, and survey and design engineers.

On the financial sector, the pilot FTZ version makes it clear that the opening-up measures implemented in the Hainan Free Trade Port will be replicated across pilot FTZs. These zones will, for example, allow eligible foreign individuals to open securities and futures accounts.

The pilot FTZ version permits foreigners and businesses established overseas to participate in customs clearance processes. It also reduces the minimum requirement for the proportion of Chinese staff working on television series co-produced by Chinese and foreign companies.

The ministry stressed that it expects the introduction of the two negative lists to enhance China's alignment with high-standard international trading rules, thereby expediting the country's progress in reforming its management mechanism for cross-border trade in services.

The introduction of the lists will also advance the country's high-level opening up, delivering new opportunities for global cooperation, the ministry said.