Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday urged a joint global push to uphold true multilateralism and foster an open and sharing services economy to inject vitality into the world’s economic recovery, at a time when the global economy is grappling with a conflux of the still-raging pandemic, geopolitical tensions and rising concern over a global recession.
In a congratulatory letter to the opening of the 2022 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) on Wednesday, Xi said that CIFTIS is an important platform for China to expand opening-up, deepen cooperation and spearhead innovation, making active contributions to the development of global services and services trade.
China insists on high-level opening-up to foster high-quality development, continues easing market access to the services sector, improves the openness of cross-border services trade and is striving to build an open system for high-standard services, Xi said.
China is willing to work together with all countries to uphold true multilateralism, inclusiveness and tolerance, cooperation and win-win, and join hands to foster an open and sharing services economy to inject vitality into world economic recovery and development, he stressed.
In a keynote speech at the opening, Vice Premier Han Zheng said that the 2022 CIFTIS, focusing on services cooperation and green innovation, is of vital significance amid varied new challenges confronting global economic recovery and world trade.
China implements a more active opening-up strategy, and its services trade has made robust progress, Han said, citing the country’s efforts to ease restrictions on access to the services area and push for the high-level and institutional opening-up of services trade.
Additionally, the country has focused on the joint building of the Belt and Road Initiative to advance services trade cooperation, he continued.
Last year, the country’s services exports and imports hit an all-time high of over $800 billion, up 21.4 percent year-on-year, official data showed. Currently, more than 200 countries and regions have services trade with China.
The country’s services trade has held the second spot globally for eight years in a row. Over the past decade, China’s cumulative services trade imports have topped $4 trillion, per official data.
As part of efforts to promote the healthy and sustainable development of the services trade to rev up global economic recovery, according to Han, China stands ready to work with all sides to loosen market access to services and strengthen the matchmaking in standards and rules.
Han also pledged to hold onto an innovation-driven approach and nurture new momentum to foster global services trade development amid the rise of digital services.
The annual services trade fair runs through September 5 in Beijing. Among this year’s highlights is a newly created metaverse experience hall at Shougang Park, one of the two venues for the gathering. The other venue is the China National Convention Center.
The fair also laid out an environmental services section in the second-phase of the China National Convention Center for the first time this year. The new thematic section will cover an area of 16,700 square meters and focus on low-carbon energy, the climate and carbon economy, carbon neutrality and green technology, among other topics, Xinhua reported on Tuesday, citing the Beijing International Services Trade Affairs Center.
Launched in 2012, the fair is increasingly known as a major platform showcasing the country’s push for opening-up and global cooperation, in addition to two other gatherings – the China International Import Expo in Shanghai and the Canton Fair in Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong Province.
The CIFTIS’ role as a significant platform for opening-up will be more in evidence this year, with some 200 events revolving around topics including opening-up and cooperation in the services trade, green development and digitalization, Vice Minister of Commerce Sheng Qiuping told a media briefing in late August.
In a sign of the country’s wider circle of friends in the services trade, the six-day event will feature greater internationalization, with 400-plus Global Fortune 500 firms and industry-leading businesses confirming their in-person attendance.
Attending global entities as a percentage of the total was revealed to hit 20.8 percent this year, an increase of nearly 3 percentage points from the previous year.
More than 70 countries, regions and international organizations have confirmed attendance as exhibitors or meeting organizers at the services trade show, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Germany, the UK and the World Meteorological Organization, according to Vice Mayor of Beijing Yang Jinbai.
The UAE, Switzerland, Italy and Australia are among 10 countries holding exhibitions at the CIFTIS in the name of their countries for the first time, Yang disclosed.
Alongside the Chinese economy’s shift toward a new development paradigm, the services trade is shown to be a bright spot in the economy’s rebalancing.
A reliance on merchandise trade would not suffice to underpin the economy’s balanced growth at large, Zhang Wei, former vice chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), told the Global Times.
The CIFTIS has become an important gateway to ensure the economy walks on two legs – both merchandise and services trade, Zhang remarked.