Wider market access is essential to promote high-end services

The entrance to the CIFTIS Shougang Park site is visible in this archive photo. The 2021 China International Trade in Services Fair will be held both offline and online from September 2-7 in Beijing. [Photo by LI WENMING/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Greater openness in the sector can help domestic companies ‘get bigger and stronger’

China must step up and expand openness of high-end sectors such as finance, insurance, telecommunications and professional services, including auditing and accounting, to boost employment and further favor middle-income groups , said industry experts.

Such efforts can help expand the domestic market to speed up the establishment of the dual-traffic development model, which takes the domestic market as a pillar while letting the domestic and foreign markets strengthen each other, the experts said.

Their comments came as the 2021 China International Trade in Services Fair will be held both offline and online from Thursday to September 7 in Beijing. Participants from around 153 countries and regions participate in this global event.

According to the Commerce Ministry, China has pledged to open 22 additional service sectors to foreign investors under the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership Agreement signed late last year, based on the 100 sectors of services it promised to open upon joining the World Trade Organization. in 2001.

The output of the country’s service sector reached 29.6 trillion yuan ($ 4.58 trillion) in the first half of the year, accounting for more than 55.7% of the country’s gross domestic product, up 1.2 percentage points. percentage over last year, the ministry said.

Yet China’s high-end service sector is lagging behind the rapid growth of traditional services such as catering, transportation and logistics, said Huo Jianguo, vice president of the China Society for World Trade. Organization Studies, based in Beijing.

“Bringing more foreign investors into these high-end service sectors is essential to promote fair competition among market players in order to improve the efficiency of operations of market entities and inject new growth momentum into the market. the service sector, and ultimately contribute to Chinese and global economic growth, ”Huo said.

“We must level the playing field for all market players, whether Chinese or foreign, private or public, by constantly optimizing regulations.”

It is true that most Chinese high-end service companies are not as mature and experienced as their foreign counterparts aiming to enter the Chinese market. However, just like what has happened to China’s manufacturing and industrial sector over the past decades, driven by the pressure to survive, Chinese companies will proactively learn advanced operational approaches and management experience from foreign investors and eventually end up learning. by adapting to the new competitive environment to grow taller and stronger, Huo added.

Wider market access will drive the growth of foreign direct investment flows into the services sector, which is a crucial part of China’s new opening cycle, said Nie Pingxiang, deputy director of the Service Trade Institute, who is part of the Chinese Academy. international trade and economic cooperation.

As the Chinese economy ushers in a new era of high-quality development with accelerated upgrading and optimization of industrial structure, greater openness in service sectors, especially high-tech services, will support further development. high quality, said Nie.

China could encourage more foreign capital to flow into health care, culture and entertainment, and high-tech services such as scientific research and technology services and information transmission, she said. .

China’s negative list for 2021, which is expected to be released soon, will be further reduced, with the aim of promoting an orderly and wider opening up in the services sector, said Bai Ming, deputy director of the market research department. International of CAITEC.

A negative list refers to special administrative measures prohibiting access for foreign investment in certain sectors or areas. China has been shortening negative lists since 2017, and about two-thirds of restrictive measures have been reduced in recent years, Bai said.

Cui Fan, professor of international business and economics at the Beijing University of International Business and Economics, believes that service sectors such as culture, health care and aviation still have a large margin for development. opening, and the new negative list for 2021 is expected to make progress in the professional services sectors.

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