By He Yin
The 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) kicked off in Beijing Friday. Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the Global Trade in Services Summit of the event via video link.
The 2020 CIFTIS, as the first major international economic and trade activity held by China both online and offline since the outbreak of COVID-19, has attracted worldwide attention.
Trade in services is the most dynamic part of today’s global trade, as well as a source of potential for global growth. When the world economy is facing a possible depression, the CIFTIS, with the theme of “Global Services, Shared Prosperity,” further demonstrates China’s resolution to open wider, and displays the country’s higher-level opening-up that aims at achieving common development with the world.
During the CIFTIS 2019, President Xi sent a congratulatory letter, noting that there are broad prospects and huge potential for the development of service trade. In the letter, he called on countries to seize the opportunity and work together to forge a bright future of global services with mutual, shared benefits.
Currently, 60 percent of the world’s economic output came from the service industry, and service export, which accounts for 20 percent of the world’s total export volume, contributes to nearly half of the total value added in global foreign trade.
Peter Bakker, President and CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), noted that China’s holding of the CIFTIS at the critical moment promote global trade and bolster confidence in global economic recovery.
The story of “Global Services, Shared Prosperity” further indicates the value of the stable dividend brought by China’s economic development. In the past 6 years, the CIFTIS has attracted 184 countries and regions, nearly 300 international organizations and overseas business associations and more than 10,000 companies, achieving an accumulated intended transaction amount of $529.33 billion.
Its exhibition area expanded to 165,000 square meters in 2019 from 50,000 square meters 6 years ago, and the intended transaction amount also rose from $60.11 billion to $105.06 billion in the same period. The development of the event exactly mirrors how China has constantly shared its economic dividend with the world.
Thanks to the remarkable achievements made by China in coordinating epidemic prevention and control with economic and social development, the country saw a 3.2 percent year-on-year economic growth in the second quarter, as a result of which Fitch Ratings and Moody both increased their ratings for China’s economic outlook.
This year the CIFTIS covers an exhibition area of around 200,000 square meters, and a total of 18,000 enterprises and organizations from home and abroad have registered for the event. All the top 30 countries and regions in terms of service trade have sent exhibitors, and 399 of the Fortune Global 500 companies have confirmed participation. It indicates that the world places huge value on the historic opportunities created by China.
The story of “Global Services, Shared Prosperity” showcases China’s continuous practices of opening-up. China is constantly deepening cooperation on service trade investment with global countries to promote trade liberalization and investment facilitation. The CIFTIS is the world’s largest comprehensive exhibition regarding service trade, as well as an important window for Chinese service industry.
China issued an overall plan for deepening the pilot of the innovative development of trade in services last month, expanding the number of piloted areas from 17 to 28. It proves that to expand the opening-up of the service sector is an important measure for China to promote high-level opening-up.
From the “Chinese manufacturing” of the China Import and Export Fair, to the “Chinese market” of the China International Import Expo, and to the “Chinese service” of the CIFTIS, China has sent a strong voice of opening wider to the world. Its practice well explains how it is standing on the right side of history, and demonstrates its ambition to achieve common development with the world.
The story of “Global Services, Shared Prosperity” demonstrates China’s sense of responsibility to conform to the trend of times and safeguard free trade as a major country. At present, economic globalization is encountering headwinds, together with a rising trend of unilateralism and protectionism. However, economic globalization comes with the development of history; it is unstoppable despite countercurrents.
Global economic connectivity and exchange are a prerequisite for the world’s economic development, and openness and cooperation remain the responsible approach for global development. As the world’s largest trader of goods and second-largest trader of service, China is always an important propeller of global openness. By joining hands with countries to promote the development of trade in services, it is firmly supporting the multilateral trading system, and making economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.
As the 2020 CIFTIS kicks off, the world is expecting more the consensus and practice to safeguard the multilateral trading system and promote global trade development. It is believed that China’s higher-level opening up will powerfully drive the construction of an open world economy and benefit the people all over the world.