China’s trade in services moves onto fast lane of development

By Qiu Haifeng Source: People’s Daily


China’s services trade has maintained fast growth. Data from the country’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) showed that China’s imports and exports of services totaled over 1.45 trillion yuan ($214.6 billion) in the first quarter of 2022, rising 25.8 percent year on year.

Photo taken on Sept. 7, 2021 shows the exhibition area of the 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) at the China National Convention Center in Beijing. (Photo by Fan Jiashan/People’s Daily Online)

Its exports of services grew 30.8 percent to 713.98 billion yuan and imports of services reached 743.01 billion yuan with a year-on-year increase of 21.3 percent. The growth of services exports outpaced import growth by 9.5 percentage points, resulting in a 56.4-percent drop in the country’s services trade deficit to 29.03 billion yuan from the same period last year.


Zhao Zhonghui, director of the translation center of BERIS Engineering and Research Corporation in Qingdao city, east China’s Shandong province, has been busy dubbing a program of Shandong TV into Lao with her colleagues.


“This is a new service export project we launched this year. We’ve so far finished translating the Chinese subtitles into Lao, English and Romanian, and basically accomplished the dubbing work,” said Zhao, adding that the program will be aired on Lao National Television and Romanian public television TVR in a few days.


According to Zhao, the company completed the multilingual dubbing and subtitle translation of more than 10,000 standard episodes of TV programs in 2021. The programs it exported last year, which were 450,000 minutes in total length, have been broadcast on TV stations and online video platforms in 195 countries and regions and received over 10 billion hits globally, bringing the company an export value of several billion yuan.


During the rapid development of trade in services, knowledge-intensive service industry, as a key field, made remarkable progress and showed stronger export competitiveness, noted Zhang Jianping, head of the Center for Regional Economic Cooperation under the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.


China’s trade in knowledge-intensive services climbed 14.1 percent to 615.66 billion yuan in the first quarter of the year, according to an official with the Department of Trade in Services and Commercial Services of the MOFCOM.


Knowledge-intensive services exports expanded 16.3 percent to 350.06 billion yuan, among which exports of such fields as telecommunications, computer and information services, other business services, as well as intellectual property royalties registered fast growth, rising 22.1 percent, 14.6 percent and 11.2 percent, respectively.


Imports of knowledge-intensive services grew 11.4 percent to 265.6 billion yuan during the period.


The sound performance of China’s trade in services is attributed to Chinese enterprises’ increasing competitiveness and the government’s policies and measures.


On August 26, 2021, China officially began to implement a negative list for cross-border trade in services in the southern island province of Hainan. The introduction and implementation of the negative list represented a major breakthrough in the management model of trade in services and signaled further opening-up in cross-border trade in services.


An MOFCOM official recently disclosed that the country plans to formulate a negative list for cross-border trade in services that is applicable to all of its 21 pilot free trade zones (FTZs) this year, and will promote the introduction of a national negative list for cross-border services trade in due course.


In March, the general office of the MOFCOM issued a circular on making good use of the guidance funds for the innovative development of services trade to support the development of new trade forms and models, encouraging leveraging new ways of financing to stimulate new trade forms and models.


The MOFCOM and six other government departments lately approved a new batch of 40 specialized bases for featured services export. China is now home to 112 bases for featured services export, which cover seven fields including culture, traditional Chinese medicine, digital services, human resources, geographic information, intellectual property and language services.


The 2022 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), which is scheduled to be held both online and offline in September, will focus on trends in services trade, highlight digitalization and green development, and add a thematic exhibition of environment services.


Six kinds of activities will be held during this year’s CIFTIS, including the Global Trade in Services Summit, exhibition, conference and forum, promotion and negotiation, achievement release as well as supporting activities.


The exhibition will cover an area of no less than 126,000 square meters, and over 100 conferences, forums, promotion and negotiation activities will be held.


As an important part of international trade and a major field of international economic and trade cooperation, services trade plays a key role in building a new development pattern.


Last year, the value added of China’s service sector accounted for 53.3 percent of the country’s GDP, and the country’s total trade in services reached 5.3 trillion yuan, ranking second in the world for eight consecutive years.


On the whole, China’s trade in services is characterized by constantly expanding scale, steadily increasing added value and continuously growing competitiveness, and still has huge potential for growth and great market opportunities.