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Head of Department of Trade in Services introduces development of China’s services trade from January to May

From January to May, the import and export of services were RMB1.93806 trillion, up 3.7% year-on-year; in breakdown, service exports increased by 20.1% to RMB911.78 billion yuan; imports dipped by 7.5% to RMB1.02628 trillion yuan. Service exports increased by 27.6 percentage points more than imports, driving the services trade deficit down by 67.3% to RMB114.49 billion, a decrease of RMB235.59 billion year-on-year. Compared with the same period in 2019, service exports and imports fell by 11.5%, or a two-year average of 5.9%, of which exports increased by 17.3%, or a two-year average of 8.3%, and imports fell by 27.3%, or a two-year average of 14.8%. The main characteristics are as follows.

Service imports and exports grew fast in May. China’s total service imports and exports in May amounted to RMB373.45 billion, up 5.5% over the same period last year and down 8.1% sequentially; in breakdown, exports were RMB165.6 billion, up 7.7% year-on-year and down 17.4% sequentially; imports were RMB207.85 billion, up 3.7% year-on-year and up 1% sequentially. The fastest-growing sector was transport services, with an increase of 39.1%.

Knowledge-intensive services trade gained a larger share. From January to May, China’s import and export of knowledge-intensive services increased by 11% to RMB898.99 billion, accounting for 46.4% of the total import and export of services, an increase of 3.1 percentage points. In breakdown, exports of knowledge-intensive services were RMB493.33 billion, up 14.4%, accounting for 54.1% of the total exports of services; the areas that registered faster growth in exports were personal cultural and recreational services, telecommunications, computer and information services, and intellectual property rights royalties, up 32.6%, 22.6% and 14.7% respectively. Knowledge-intensive services imports grew by 7.3% to RMB405.66 billion, accounting for 39.5% of total service imports; the areas that registered faster growth in imports were financial services and insurance services, up 20.7% and 13.2% respectively.

The import and export of travel services continued to decline. The COVID-19 pandemic has a lingering impact on the import and export of travel services as countries continued to take strict measures to restrict the movement of people across borders. From January to May, the import and export of travel services in China dropped by 36.9% to RMB307.07 billion, with exports down 39.1% and imports down 36.7%. Excluding travel services, China’s service imports and exports grew by 18% from January to May, with exports up 24.3% and imports up 11.4%.

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