Ongoing CIFTIS to further boost role of trade in services in enriching people’s lives

Photo taken on Sept. 1 shows the outdoor pavilions of the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) at the Landscape Avenue of the central axis of the Beijing Olympic Park. (Photo by Weng Qiyu/People's Daily Online)

The China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) kicked off on Sept. 4. in the China National Convention Center in Beijing.


As the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging across the globe and posing unprecedented challenges to global trade in services, the six-day event signifies China’s firm confidence and unswerving resolution to continue pushing forward opening-up.


The country’s efforts to keep promoting opening-up in trade in services and facilitate high-quality development of the field are expected to bring more benefits to people.


As people’s living standards have been continuously improved, their expenditures on culture and recreation have also been growing constantly, said He Mi, vice president of Alibaba Pictures.


“We can watch high-quality foreign movies and art performances near our homes and they have enriched our lives,” said Chen Jue, a Chinese citizen who works in a bank in Beijing.


Introducing high-quality foreign movies and art performances to the Chinese market, which represents an example of trade in services, can not only increase supplies of relevant products and services in the domestic cultural market and better satisfy people’s spiritual and cultural needs, but help promote market competition and boost the quality and upgrading of relevant industries at home, He explained.


The Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services jointly compiled by international organizations including the United Nations (UN) classifies trade in services into 12 major categories, including transport services, travel services, construction services, insurance and pension services, financial services, telecommunications, computer and information services and so on.


In recent years, China’s volume of imports and exports of services has continued to grow, said Li Jun, director of the Institute of International Trade in Services at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, a think tank under the Ministry of Commerce (MOC).


The country has remained the world’s second largest service trader for six consecutive years and consolidated its position in global trade in services, Li said, adding that in 2019, China’s trade volume of services reached $785 billion.


Cross-border movement of people has been restricted this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused a huge impact on import and export of tourism services around the world, Li noted.


During the first half of this year, China’s imports and exports of tourism services totaled $82 billion, down 42.9 percent year on year, according to data from the MOC. The sharp plunge in the trade volume of tourism services was the major cause of the decrease in China’s volume of trade in services during the period.


Data suggested that China’s imports and exports of services would see a 2.1-percent growth if the volume of trade in tourism services were excluded.


The rapid development of trade in services has better satisfied people’s needs for a better life, Li said, explaining that trade in services is closely related with the life of ordinary people.


While opening-up in education, tourism, medicine and other daily life services allows consumers to enjoy more choices of quality services, trade in productive service areas like telecommunications and computer can help improve social productivity, Li pointed out.


“I never thought I can receive advanced foreign treatment therapy without leaving our country,” said a patient named Zhang Yue in the department of surgical oncology of Boao Evergrande International Hospital in Boao Hope City.


Since its establishment, Boao Hope City, an international medical and tourism pilot zone in Boao township, Qionghai, south China’s Hainan province, has constantly optimized its examination and approval procedures to accelerate the import of innovative medicines and medical instruments, in a bid to make sure Chinese people can enjoy innovative medical services around the world as soon as possible.


At present, 100 new antineoplastic drugs and rare-diseases drugs are available in Boao Hope City, which also put into use 11 innovative medicines and medical instruments imported from foreign countries before they were launched overseas for one year.


China Science and Technology Museum has applied a robot named Cruzr, which could provide contact-free body temperature measurement service for visitors. Equipped with rich body language and multi-modal sensory functions, the robot can recognize texts, words, images, movements, and environment, and fully interact with people.


“Cruzr has been exported to serve foreign clients. It is playing important roles in resumption of work in hospitals, shopping malls, and airports, as well as reopening of schools and city management in countries including Belgium, South Korea, Japan, and Rwanda,” said an executive of Ubtech Robotics Corporation, developer of Cruzr.


Besides constant growth in the size of imports and exports of services, China is also seeing continuous improvement in the structure of foreign trade in services.


During the first six months this year, the country’s imports and exports of knowledge-intensive services totaled $142.83 billion, up 9.2 percent from the same period of the previous year, according to data.


China’s foreign trade in knowledge-intensive services accounted for 43.7 percent of its total volume of service imports and exports, marking a year-on-year growth of 9.6 percentage points.


In the second half of this year, China will make active efforts to deepen reform, promote the construction of pilot zones for comprehensively deepening innovative development of trade in services and service outsourcing demonstration cities, explore bases for export of characteristic services, and boost high-quality development of trade in services, according to the MOC.


The country will intensify efforts to expand opening-up and speed up the formulation of a nationwide negative list for trade in cross-border services, said the MOC, adding that China will spare no effort to improve quality and efficiency for trade in services by accelerating innovation in the field and tapping into emerging forms of trade in services such as digital trade and online exhibitions.

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