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Service trade booming in first 10 months

By REN XIAOJIN | China Daily | Updated: 2018-12-06 07:31
A hoisting equipment loads containers onto a freight vessel at the Gwadar port in Pakistan. The deepwater port has become fully functional in late 2016 under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. It welcomed its first liner in March 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

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China's service trade volume hit a record in the first 10 months of this year, with its structure continuing to optimize, said the Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday.

From January to October, the nation's service trade totaled over 4.3 trillion yuan ($624 billion), up 11.1 percent year-on-year, according to the ministry.

China exported 1.42 trillion yuan worth of goods during the period, up 14.3 percent year-on-year, while imports edged up by 9.6 percent, reaching 2.88 trillion yuan.

The ministry's spokesman said fast-emerging services had resulted in high-quality growth in service trade, as emerging service trade jumped 20.4 percent year-on-year during the first 10 months of 2018. Its growth rate was 9.3 percent higher than the overall sector.

The traditional service sectors of tourism, transportation and construction maintained the lion's share, taking up 64 percent of the overall trade volume.

China and Argentina signed a memorandum of understanding on service trade cooperation in Buenos Aires last Sunday. According to the memorandum, the two countries will set up work teams to promote service trade and hold meetings annually.

The two countries will also promote cooperation on information, financial and agricultural technology, culture and entertainment, architecture, service outsourcing and traditional medicine.

China also signed a memorandum of understanding in service trade with Panama on Monday.

"China always highly values the opening-up of its service sector and the development of service trade," said Zhao Wen, a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee. "Digital trade has become a new trend of the country's service trade."

"Especially with the Belt and Road Initiative, digital economic cooperation will become a new stage for international digital trade," she said.

The increasing potential of service trade in China has attracted foreign businesses, which expect to see Chinese service providers go abroad and expect to sell service products in China.

Hew Wee Choong, vice-president of the Investment and Industry Development arm of the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, said there is a profound opportunity for China and Malaysia to cooperate on service trade, especially in digital services.

"China's technology know-how and Malaysia's familiarity with the business strategy and model are the right ingredients for those wishing to expand their presence in Southeast Asia," he said.

Sean Chiao, president of AECOM Asia-Pacific, a US architecture and infrastructure consulting company, also said the company is eyeing to drive its growth by the domestic demand for service.

"In many strategic development plans, such as the Belt and Road Initiative, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and so on, we have made our contribution. This showcases that AECOM's determination has never changed in the more than four decades we have participated in China's development."

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