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Why 2023 Ciftis Is Expected To Inject New Impetus Into World Economic Development

Despite a complex and severe external environment, China’s service trade has sustained rapid growth with resilience, emerging as a highlight of high-standard opening-up endeavors. The total value of China’s service trade climbed 12.9 percent year on year to nearly 6 trillion yuan (some $833.5 billion) in 2022, retaining the second spot globally for nine years in a row, said Chen Chunjiang, assistant minister of commerce.

Chen was speaking at a press conference about the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) 2023, which is scheduled to take place in Beijing from September 2 to 6. Themed “openness leads development, cooperation creates a win-win future,” the fair covers an exhibition area of 155,000 square meters.

“Efforts will be made to improve the functions of the CIFTIS, making it the world’s most influential fair for trade in services, injecting new impetus to the global economy,” said Chen.

Platform with fresh appeal

Having attracted more than 600,000 exhibitors from 196 countries and regions, the CIFTIS, launched in 2012, acts as an important platform for China to expand opening-up, deepen cooperation and guide innovation. Featuring numerous overseas participants and abundant offline activities, experts say this year’s CIFTIS plays a significant role in expanding international cooperation in service trade.

As of August 20, a total of 51 countries and 24 international organizations had already confirmed their participation, according to Sima Hong, deputy mayor of Beijing. More than 500 companies that have featured in the Fortune Global 500 list and industry-leading enterprises are poised to showcase their accomplishments, and over 2,200 enterprises are gearing up to participate in offline exhibitions.

The United Kingdom, the guest country of honor at the 2023 CIFTIS, will assemble its largest-ever delegation for the fair this year, according to the deputy mayor. The 2023 CIFTIS is expected to see over 200 varied events, including a global services trade summit, exhibitions, forums, business promotion conferences and supportive activities.

Over 60 enterprises and institutions will launch an array of new products and technologies at the 2023 CIFTIS, spanning the fields of artificial intelligence, financial technology, medical and health care, and cultural creativity, injecting new vitality into the development of service trade, said Chen.

Boost in global service trade 

As China has deepened the opening-up of its services sector, it is expected that the scale of service trade will maintain growth throughout the year and its trade structure will continue to optimize, said Chen. China’s service trade has witnessed improved quality and competitiveness, with knowledge-intensive services representing 43.5 percent of the total service trade in the first half of this year.

The digitalization of trade in services has been further accelerated. During the period, the country’s digitally delivered service trade increased by 12.3 percent year on year, 3.8 percentage points higher than the growth rate of total service trade, said Wang Dongtang, a senior official with the Ministry of Commerce. The ministry vows to create a sound digital business environment and increase exports of digital services.

China’s travel service trade has rebounded rapidly, and the trade value grew by 65.4 percent year on year to reach 650.94 billion yuan in the first half, becoming the fastest-growing area in service trade, according to the ministry. Wang noted that Chinese tourists have created huge benefits for the development of international tourism and also boosted the growth of global trade and economic recovery.

The ministry will promote the introduction of negative lists for cross-border trade in services, upgrade the building of national demonstration zones for the innovative development of trade in services and cultivate new forms and models of service trade in more areas, said Chen.  The CIFTIS is an annual flagship event in China, serving as a vital platform for China to build consensus on global cooperation and promote international exchanges, said Tom Simpson, managing director of China operations and chief China representative at the China-Britain Business Council.

“CIFTIS is a valuable opportunity for businesses to engage with government stakeholders, for China to exhibit its own strengths and ambitions for the service sector, and for international service companies to announce deals with local partners,” Simpson noted.

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