China to open service sector wider
By Bao Chang
China will further open its service and trade sectors, facilitating market access for competitive industries including transportation, construction and travel in the global market, a Ministry of Commerce official said on Thursday.
"The ongoing cross-border transfer of the service industry has brought China unprecedented opportunities for the service trade and China will open the industry wider," Lu Jijian, deputy director-general of the ministry's department of trade in services and commercial services, said.
Service industries including finance, logistics, education, healthcare and sports will be gradually opened, Lu said.
"The transportation, travel and construction industries could offer more market entry opportunities amid keen competition in the international service market," Lu said.
Speaking at the first China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services held last month, World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy said that he hoped China would play a leading role in the global service industry's opening up.
Accounting for about 70 percent of the world economy, the service sector is responsible for two-thirds of global transnational investment and one-fifth of world trade.
"With the repercussions of the international economic crisis still lingering, major economies are racing to upgrade their economic development modes," Lu said.
"China will expand exports of services, including construction, labor, transportation, communication, finance and consulting, to introduce premium Chinese services to foreign markets," Lu said.
According to the ministry, China will promote the proportion of trade in modern services with high added value in its total services exports to 45 percent by 2015.
China ranked fourth in the world in service trade value, totaling $419.1 billion last year, compared with $66 billion in 2000.
"However, compared with developed economies, China is still weak at market exploration and the establishment of international sales channels," Lu said.
In developed economies, the service sector represents about 70 percent of the total economy. In China, the figure is just about 43 percent. By 2015, China's service trade will reach $600 billion and the industry will account for 47 percent of GDP.