In the face of a complex and challenging global economic environment, China’s service trade has exhibited remarkable resilience and sustained rapid growth, emerging as a standout example of high-standard international engagement.
The steadfast growth of China’s service trade is set to take center stage at the upcoming China International Fair for Trade in Services 2023 (2023 CIFTIS), which is scheduled to take place in Beijing from September 2 to 6.
Continued growth and global recognition
In 2022, China’s service trade reached new heights by recording a year-on-year growth of 12.9 percent, culminating in a total value of nearly 6 trillion yuan (approximately 833.5 billion U.S. dollars). This impressive performance solidified China’s position as the second-largest contributor to global service trade for an unprecedented nine years in a row. Chen Chunjiang, Assistant Minister of Commerce, emphasized these achievements during a press conference leading up to the 2023 CIFTIS.
The theme: Openness, cooperation and development
The theme for the 2023 CIFTIS, “openness leads development, cooperation creates a win-win future,” underscores China’s commitment to fostering a collaborative environment that drives growth and shared prosperity. The event is set to take place across two prominent venues: the China National Convention Center and Shougang Park, boasting an expansive combined exhibition area of 155,000 square meters.
Assistant Minister Chen underlined the intention to enhance the fair’s functions, positioning the CIFTIS as the world’s premier platform for trade in services. This strategic approach is expected to infuse renewed energy into the global economy.
A global nexus for collaboration
Since its inception in 2012, the CIFITS has grown into a pivotal platform for China to deepen international cooperation, spur innovation, and expand its opening-up efforts. Over the years, the fair has welcomed over 600,000 exhibitors representing 196 nations and regions. This year’s event is anticipated to further elevate its global stature, with 51 countries and 24 international organizations having already confirmed their participation.
The 2023 CIFTIS will attract over 500 Global Fortune 500 companies and leading industry players, along with more than 2,200 enterprises participating in offline exhibitions. As the guest country of honor for this year’s fair, the United Kingdom is assembling its largest-ever delegation, marking the significance of this international gathering.
A multifaceted agenda
The 2023 CIFTIS is poised to feature a diverse range of events, totaling over 200 activities. These include a global services trade summit, exhibitions, forums, business promotion conferences, and complementary engagements. Notably, more than 60 enterprises and institutions are gearing up to introduce cutting-edge products and technologies across sectors such as artificial intelligence, financial technology, medical and healthcare, and cultural creativity. These advancements are anticipated to inject fresh vitality into the growth of service trade.
Evolving trade structure and digitalization
China’s commitment to opening up its service sector has led to a resilient trajectory of growth. Assistant Minister Chen predicts that the scale of service trade will continue to expand throughout the year, accompanied by further optimization of its trade structure. A notable development is the increasing digitalization of trade in services. In the first half of the year, digitally-delivered service trade surged by 12.3 percent year-on-year, outpacing the growth rate of total service trade by 3.8 percentage points.
To fortify this digital momentum, the Ministry of Commerce is dedicated to fostering a robust digital business environment, promoting the digitalization of service outsourcing, and establishing high-standard national digital service export bases.
Resurgence in travel services
Amidst global travel disruptions, China’s travel service trade has demonstrated an impressive rebound, becoming the fastest-growing sector within the service trade arena. The trade value of travel services surged by 65.4 percent year-on-year in the first half of the year, reaching 650.94 billion yuan. Chinese tourists have played a pivotal role in the revival of international tourism and have contributed substantially to the growth of global trade and economic recovery.
In line with its commitment to the expansion of service trade, China is set to introduce negative lists for cross-border trade in services, enhance the development of national demonstration zones for innovative service trade, and cultivate innovative forms and models of service trade across various domains.
As the world anticipates the 2023 CIFTIS, China’s persistent dedication to resilient and high-quality service trade growth continues to set an example of global significance. The fair serves as an invaluable platform for international cooperation, fostering innovation, and charting the path towards shared economic prosperity.