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President Xi Jinping Addresses the Global Trade in Services Summit of the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services

2020/09/04

On 4 September, President Xi Jinping recorded a video message for the Global Trade in Services Summit of the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS).

Xi noted that over the past few months, the people of China and other countries have helped and supported each other in fighting COVID-19 and the challenges associated with it. At present, the global pandemic is yet to be brought under full control. All countries face formidable tasks to defeat the virus, stabilize the economy and protect livelihoods. It is against such a backdrop that China decided to hold this important international trade event despite the many difficulties in organizing it. It demonstrates China's willingness to partner with others in this trying time to strengthen global trade in services and kickstart global economic recovery.

Xi expressed the hope that people across the world will seize the opportunity presented by CIFTIS, which serves as both a platform and a bridge, to access the new advances and breakthroughs in services trade and enjoy the benefits of new technologies and human progress.

Xi stressed that the world is going through profound transformation unseen in a century, which is accelerated by the pandemic. Economic globalization has encountered headwinds, protectionism and unilateralism are on the rise, the world economy is in the doldrums, and international trade and investment have slumped. These present unprecedented challenges to patterns of work and life as we know them.

Xi urged people not to forget that a new round of technological and industrial revolution is spurring a boom in digital technologies, deepening the integration of industries and enabling the service economy to flourish. During this pandemic, telemedicine, e-learning, sharing platforms, collaboration systems, cross-border e-commerce and other services have been widely used. They contribute to both the stabilization of national economies and international cooperation against COVID-19. Going forward, opening-up and cooperation in the services sector will play a bigger role in driving economic development.

Xi made three proposals to the participants.

First, working together to foster an open and inclusive environment for cooperation. A review of history shows that the world economy thrives in openness and withers in fragmentation. Comparatively speaking, the services sector does not involve much asset or physical inputs. Service providers require an open, transparent, inclusive and non-discriminatory environment. Barriers at and behind national borders that hinder the flow of production factors must be reduced, and cross-border connectivity must be improved. China will steadfastly open up its services sector. It will improve the negative list for services trade, develop open platforms for piloting the innovative development of its services sector, further improve market access for service providers, and import more quality services from other countries. To facilitate the growth of services trade, China will promote greater harmonization of rules at the multilateral and regional levels, and work for better global economic governance and more inclusive growth of the world economy.

Second, working together to unleash the power of innovation in driving cooperation. All nations need to embrace the trend toward digital-driven, Internet-based and smart growth, jointly eliminate the digital divide, and advance the digitalization of trade in services. China will build more bases for featured services export and develop new business forms and models for services trade. China will also work with other countries to enhance macro-policy coordination, accelerate international cooperation in the digital sector, step up intellectual property protection, and facilitate the vibrant growth of the digital economy and sharing economy, a combination of which will add new dynamism to the world economy.

Third, working together to promote mutually beneficial cooperation. In this age of economic globalization, countries share an unprecedented degree of economic interdependency and intertwined interests. Good relations between nations depend on treating each other with goodwill and pursuing shared benefits. Countries need to forge greater synergy in growing their services trade, seek new ways and more areas of cooperation and the widest possible converging interests, and make the "pie" of global services trade bigger. Through CIFTIS and the China International Import Expo, the Chinese side will coordinate policy and share experience with other nations, and foster diverse partnerships with foreign governments, international organizations, business associations and enterprises. China supports the establishment of a global alliance for trade in services, and hopes to see the fruits of serivces trade and cooperation benefitting more people around the world.

Xi pledged central government support for Beijing's effort to develop a national integrated demonstration zone for opening up the services sector.. This decision encourages the capital city to spearhead services opening, take bolder steps and gain experiences that could be replicated in and extended to other cities, Beijing will also have central government blessing to set up a pilot free trade zone focusing on scientific and technological innovation, services opening and digital economy. It will serve as a platform for high-standard opening-up as part of the drive for the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area and open new horizons for nationwide reform and opening-up.

Xi concluded by saying that the unexpected pandemic may have prevented face-to-face meetings, but it cannot stop the growth of services trade or affect international confidence in and action for shared progress and mutually beneficial cooperation. He called on all parties to pull together, take determined steps to get over this difficult period and create a better future for the world.

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