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In the first half of the year, despite the complex and volatile external situation, China’s trade in services maintained the momentum of growth. The total value of services imports and exports were up 8.5% year-on-year. What’s MOFCOM’s analysis of the performance and the underlying cause? CIFTIS 2023 will open next month. What is its role in the further liberalization of China’s services sector? Will new measures be announced?(2023-08-17)

Regarding your first question, in the first half of the year, China’s services trade kept growing steadily. The value of services imports and exports totalled RMB3135.84 billion, up 8.5% year-on-year. In breakdown, trade in knowledge intensive services took up 43.5%, up 1.5 percentage points from the previous year. The imports and exports of tourism service grew 65.4%, making it the fastest growing sector. The steady growth in trade in services is largely due to the following reasons.

First, supporting policies for trade in services continue to work. In recent years, MOFCOM has implemented the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council in earnest and worked with related departments to introduce a slew of policy measures boosting services trade, including promoting innovative development of trade in services, deepening services liberalization, accelerating the transformation and upgrade of services outsourcing, strengthening the development of specialty services export bases, and developing digital trade with vigor, among others. Localities have also actively announced their supporting measures based on local conditions. The delivery of these policy measures have effectively driven the steady development of China’s services trade.

Second, the foundation for the development of trade in services is more solid. This year, the national economy has continued to rebound steadily, with services growing fairly rapidly. In the first half of the year, China’s services sector posted RMB33 trillion in value added, up 6.4% year-on-year. Accounting for 56% of the GDP, which is 1.6 percentage points higher from the previous year, it contributed 66.1% to national economic growth and provided strong support for the steady growth of China’s trade in services.

Third, the group of trading partners in services is expanding. Over the years, China has deepened international cooperation on service trade. China has established service trade relations with more than 200 countries and regions and signed bilateral service trade cooperation agreements with 15 countries. Since the outset of this year, MOFCOM has stepped up dialogue on service trade with Belt and Road partners, BRICS and the SCO, put in place cooperation mechanisms with relevant countries and deepen cooperation with key partners. The network for international cooperation on service trade is maturing. The CIIE and CIFTIS, among other major exhibitions, have become international public goods and effective platforms for China to enhance trade in services with other countries.

On your second question, President Xi Jinping has pointed out that as a crucial platform to expand opening up, deepen cooperation and pioneer innovation, CIFTIS has made positive contributions to promoting the development of global service industry and trade in services. After 11 years of development, CIFTIS has become a golden name card for China’s service industry and opening up and cooperation in the field of service trade. The 2023 CIFTIS is just around the corner. We will hold a press conference in the near future to brief you on the preparations for the event. You are welcome to cover it in your reports. Thank you.