China will open wider in several service industries to promote cross-border trade and investment, President Xi Jinping said on Saturday.
Zhao Xijun, a finance professor at Renmin University in Beijing, said boosting services trade and opening the sector would be a challenge for China as they involved different standards adopted by different countries and cultures.
“China has a great market for various services, including telecoms, law, tourism and vocational exams. However, the government has a lot of work to do to align domestic standards with international norms,” Zhao said.
“In addition, there are national security concerns to address. Before a full opening up of the service sector, a mechanism for dispute resolution must be worked out,” he said.
China has faced a sluggish domestic economic recovery since ending its rigid Covid-19 restrictions in December.
In recent months, the world’s second-largest economy has lost steam with a weak yuan, while property woes and local debt stress have fanned widespread fears that there could be an outbreak of increased financial risk.
“China will stay committed to advancing high-standard opening up, pursuing Chinese modernisation on all fronts with high-quality development and creating new opportunities for open cooperation across the world,” Xi said.
Xi highlighted China’s plans for developing its service industry, such as promoting the integration of trade in services with the modern service industry, high-end manufacturing and modern agriculture.
He also called for a national trading market for voluntary greenhouse gas emission reductions and the safeguarding of the free trade and multilateral trading system.
The government-sponsored China International Fair for Trade in Services takes place in Beijing from September 2 to 6.
The country’s trade in services grew 8.1 per cent year on year to about 3.67 trillion yuan (US$507 billion) in total value in the first seven months of this year, with the services trade deficit standing at 589.9 billion yuan, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.
Services exports declined 6.3 per cent year on year to some 1.54 trillion yuan, while services imports stood at nearly 2.13 trillion yuan, up 21.6 per cent from a year ago.