The port area of ​​the Qingdao section, China pilot free trade zone (Shandong). [Photo by ZHANG JINGANG/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Nation to push further liberalization and opening at a higher level

China has proactively advanced the completion and publication of a negative list for cross-border trade in services in pilot free trade zones, the Commerce Ministry said Thursday.

The aim is to conduct stress tests for greater openness in cross-border trade in services through pilot works covering more places, the MOC said.

“This decision aims to further promote liberalization of trade in services and high-level institutional opening,” Shu Jueting, spokesman for the ministry, said at a press conference in Beijing.

A negative list refers to special administrative measures for the access of foreign investors to specific areas as stipulated. China introduced a negative list for cross-border trade in services at the Hainan Free Trade Port earlier this year.

On November 4, President Xi Jinping said via video link during the opening ceremony of the Fourth China International Import Expo and the Hongqiao International Economic Forum that China would conduct stress tests for a high-level opening in the pilot free trade zones and the Hainan FTP. , and publish a negative list for cross-border trade in services in pilot free trade areas.

The country’s trade in services has grown rapidly this year, and Shu attributed this to China’s continued opening up, stable recovery of the services sector, and the digitization of trade in services.

In the first three quarters of this year, China’s trade in services amounted to 3.780 billion yuan ($ 590 billion), up 11.6% year-on-year.

Services exports jumped 27.3% yoy to 1.78 trillion yuan, while imports increased 0.5% yoy to 2 trillion yuan, recording positive growth for the first times since the COVID-19 outbreak.

A series of policies and measures, such as the progress of pilot works for innovation and development of trade in services, and the implementation of a negative list on cross-border trade in services in Hainan FTP, gave a new momentum to trade in services, Shu mentioned.

“Among the 12 sub-sectors of trade in services, seven recorded growth rates above 10% in the first nine months, which offset the negative impact of the decline in imports of tourism services, to support the growth in overall services imports, ”she said. .

Zhou Mi, senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said that the rapid development of the digital economy, measures to facilitate digital economic cooperation in international agreements and upgrades in some of the Chinese manufacturing sectors to provide products related to manufacturing services, all created a new dynamic in China’s services trade, helping it to develop rapidly.