BEIJING, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- China's services trade has become a bright spot in the global arena, making contributions to the world economy recovery, under Chinese President Xi Jinping's push for a broader and deeper opening-up.
Over the past decade, China's strength of having a super-large market has become apparent. The accumulated import value of services trade has surpassed 4 trillion U.S. dollars.
The country remains committed to promoting high-quality development through high-level opening-up, Xi reaffirmed in a congratulatory letter to the 2022 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) Wednesday.
Prior to this year's fair, Xi also addressed both of the previous two CIFTIS via video, and announced concrete measures to facilitate the country's opening-up progress.
He first proposed at the 2020 CIFTIS the establishment of a sound negative list management system in cross-border services trade, which offers inclusive and equal access to all domestic and overseas services providers in sectors not on the list.
Putting more weight on the measure, Xi stated at the 2021 CIFTIS that China would implement the negative list for cross-border services trade across the nation.
A louder signal was sent in Xi's letter this year as he stressed the importance of broadening market access in the services sector, facilitating opening-up in cross-border services trade, expanding the function of opening-up platforms, and striving to establish a high-standard opening-up system for the services sector.
Honoring its commitment, China has shortened its negative list for foreign investment for five consecutive years. The off-limit items for foreign investors have been cut to 31 in the 2021 version of the negative list from 33 in the 2020 version, while the 2021 negative list for foreign investment in pilot free-trade zones cut the number of items to 27 from 30.
Addressing the CIFTIS in 2021, Xi also said that China would explore the development of national demonstration zones to promote the innovative development of services trade.
One year on, such pilot demonstration zones have expanded to 28 provincial-level regions, with over 90 percent of introduced measures implemented.
A succession of new policies Xi proposed has made China more attractive among its "circle of friends."
Data from the Ministry of Commerce showed that China's services trade notched a historic high of 800 billion U.S. dollars for the first time in 2021, a stellar increase of 21.4 percent year on year. More than 200 countries and regions have services trade exchanges with China.
BEIJING AS SPEARHEAD
Amid Xi's proposals, Beijing was tasked with pioneering the opening-up path and driving the innovative development of services trade with institutional reforms.
Last year, Xi declared that a stock exchange would be set up in Beijing to serve innovation-oriented small and medium-sized firms.
Although only established in November 2021, the Beijing Stock Exchange has become an accelerator turbo-charging the growth of innovation-oriented small and medium-sized firms.
A total of 105 companies have been listed on the Beijing bourse, with small and medium-sized firms accounting for 77 percent. Companies in strategic emerging and advanced manufacturing industries make up over 80 percent of the total.
The bourse has raised an accumulated 22.7 billion yuan (3.3 billion U.S. dollars) through initial public offerings, which averages 210 million yuan for each firm.
The capital city also received approval from the State Council during the 2020 CIFTIS to expand opening-up in the services industry and build a national comprehensive demonstration zone.
About 70 pioneering policies were rolled out in two years in efforts to align with international trade rules and more than 80 signature projects were launched.
The commerce ministry said China will boost the digitalization level of traditional services trade sectors, while encouraging the imports of carbon reduction technologies and services to sharpen the competitive edge of Chinese services.
Themed "cooperate for better development, innovate for a greener future," the 2022 CIFTIS features greater internationalization with some 400 Global Fortune 500 companies and industry-leading enterprises participating, representing a larger share than its last edition. It will run through Sept. 5.