Market access

Wider market access is essential to promote high-end services

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

Greater opening of the sector can help domestic companies to “become bigger and stronger”

China should step up and expand the opening up of high-end sectors such as finance, insurance, telecommunications and professional services that include auditing and accounting to boost employment and further support middle-income groups. , said industry experts.

Such efforts can help expand the domestic market to accelerate the establishment of the dual-circulation development model, which takes the domestic market as the mainstay while letting the domestic and overseas markets reinforce each other, 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 about 153 countries and regions attend this global event.

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

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

Still, China’s high-end service industry 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 studies on the World Trade Organization, based in Beijing.

“Having more foreign investors in these high-end service sectors is essential to promote fair competition among market players to improve the operational efficiency of market entities and inject new growth momentum into the market. service sector, and ultimately contribute to both 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 companies in high-end services 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 by adapting to the new competitive environment to develop and grow. stronger, Huo added.

Broader market access will boost the growth of foreign direct investment inflows into the service sector, which is a crucial part of China’s new round of opening up, said Nie Pingxiang, deputy director of the Service Trade Institute, which is part of the Chinese Academy. international trade and economic cooperation.

As China’s economy ushers in a new era of high-quality development characterized by accelerated upgrading and optimization of industrial structure, greater openness in service sectors, especially high-tech services, will support a high-quality development, Mr. Nie said.

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

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

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

Cui Fan, a professor of international business and economics at Beijing University of International Business and Economics, said service sectors such as culture, health and aviation still have a lot of room to open. , and the new negative list for 2021 should make progress in the professional services sectors.