Visitors watch a video at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), September 6. (By Chen Xiaogen/People’s Daily Online)
By He Yin
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the Global Trade in Services Summit of the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) on September 4.
In his speech, Xi shared three thoughts and suggestions on open cooperation in the services sector, demonstrating China’s determination and willingness to join hands with other countries in this trying time and work together to enable global trade in services to thrive and the world economy to recover at an early date.
“Our world is going through profound changes unseen in a century, and the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating such changes,” Xi said.
Economic globalization has run up against headwinds; protectionism and unilateralism are on the rise; the world economy is in the doldrums; and international trade and investment have slumped. Such are the unprecedented challenges and tests in the work and life of mankind, he noted.
At the same time, a new round of technological and industrial revolution in recent years has spurred a boom in digital technologies, deepened the integration of industries, and allowed the service economy to flourish.
The services sector is emerging as a key driver of global trade and services are indispensable to running increasingly complex and sophisticated industrial economies —from logistics, to finance, to informatics, pointed out the World Trade Report 2019 released by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Against such background, facilitating openness and cooperation in the services sector is becoming an increasingly important driver for development.
Xi proposed working together to foster an open and inclusive environment for cooperation, unleash the power of innovation in driving cooperation forward, and promote mutually beneficial cooperation.
The three thoughts and suggestions put forward by Xi suit the trend of economic globalization and focus on the long-term development of world economy, indicating that China hopes to deepen cooperation and build consensus with various countries, and work together with them to open up a bright future featuring global services and shared prosperity.
China has been an important contributor to the growth of global trade in services.
In recent years, China has promoted the high-quality development of trade in services with a more open attitude, and actively expanded service imports, creating a huge market for the development of global trade in services and making valuable contributions to promoting openness and inclusiveness in the development of global economy.
In 2019, China’s volume of trade in services reached 5.4 trillion yuan ($788.4 billion), ranking second in the world for the sixth consecutive years.
China will continue to work on a negative list system for managing cross-border services trade and develop open platforms for the pilot program of innovative development of the services sector; China will continue to build bases for featured services export and develop new business forms and models in services trade; China will foster diverse partnerships with foreign governments, international organizations, business associations and enterprises, and support the establishment of a global alliance for trade in services, Xi said.
It will support Beijing in developing a national integrated demonstration zone for greater openness in the services sector, establish a platform of high-standard opening-up for the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, and open up new horizons for reform and opening-up at a higher level, he added.
A series of new initiatives and measures have once again demonstrated China’s positive actions to open its door wider and its sense of responsibility as a major country in promoting the open and inclusive development of global economy.
In this age of economic globalization, countries share economic interdependency and intertwined interests like never before. To treat each other with sincerity and pursue shared benefits holds the key to state-to-state relations in today’s world.
As the COVID-19 epidemic rages across the world, world economy has suffered major setbacks, while global demand has seen a sharp decline and global trade has been put in a severe situation.
Data from the WTO suggest that global trade in goods continued to plunge in the third quarter of this year.
Global trade has shown signs of recovery, but also faces a high level of uncertainty, according to the organization, which also predicted that global trade may shrink by about 13 percent this year.
Faced with such a severe situation, countries need to forge greater synergy in growing their trade in services, seek new ways and more areas of cooperation, and look for the widest possible converging interests in development so as to make the “pie” bigger and bigger. In this way, various countries can boost world economic growth and help people in different countries all benefit from the growth in trade in services.
The global fight against the epidemic has once again highlighted the paramount importance of international cooperation in today’s highly connected world, said Yi Xiaozhun, deputy director-general of the WTO, adding that the world needs more than ever to create a favorable environment for trade in services through international cooperation.
“The sudden attack of COVID-19 may have prevented us from meeting face to face, but it cannot block the growth of trade in services. Nor will it affect our confidence and action as we pursue shared progress and mutually beneficial cooperation,” Xi pointed out.
Today, with COVID-19 yet to be brought under full control at the global level, all countries face the formidable task to defeat the virus, stabilize the economy, and protect livelihoods, which makes the role of this year’s CIFTIS as a platform and bridge for cooperation more significant.
It is the common aspiration of Chinese people and people around the world to pull together and strengthen the resolve to get over this difficult period for mankind, and move to embrace a better tomorrow for the world.
The CIFTIS enables the word to witness how China is making efforts to join hands with various countries around the world and contribute wisdom and energy to deepening cooperation on trade and investment in services and invigorating economic and social development.
Photo taken on September 6 shows a boy watches a throat swab sample collecting robot at the thematic exhibition zone for public health and epidemic prevention of the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS). (Photo by Weng Qiyu/People’s Daily Online)
A staff worker plays football with a robot in the comprehensive exhibition area of the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), September 6. (Photo by Chen Xiaogen/People’s Daily Online)