Services bring cheer to trade amid tough times

2023-03-27 09:43:26China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Air China workers load cargo of Cainiao Network, the logistics arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, at Hangzhou International Airport in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, in August 2020. (Photo/Xinhua)

More opening-up, stable recovery, digitalization lift hopes of home and global markets

Between 2012 and 2022, a period that included nearly three years of COVID-19 disruptions to various economic activities, China's trade in services notched up an outstanding record. It grew more than 6 percent annually on average — 3 percentage points more than the global growth rate — helping China to extend its position as the world's second-largest trader in services for nine consecutive years.

More than 200 countries and regions are involved in trade in services with China, which covers purchase and sale of services like transportation, communication, construction and related engineering, finance, entertainment, culture, sports, tourism, education and environment.

According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, China's trade in services last year was worth 5.98 trillion yuan ($872.81 billion), up nearly 13 percent year-on-year, bringing cheer to the overall trade sector that seemed to be weighed down by tardy trade in goods and slowing export growth.

Despite COVID-19, softening global goods trade and geoeconomic tensions, China's trade in services bloomed on the back of continuous opening-up, the stable recovery of the services sector and digitalization, experts said.

Segments like human capital-intensive services, knowledge-intensive services and travel services — education, tourism, aircraft and vessel maintenance, TV and film production, and so forth — have been particularly active.

Proof of this shines bright at Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport in East China's Fujian province. There, standing in front of two huge pieces of aircraft landing gear at a maintenance plant, Frenchman Christian Pinter, general manager of Taikoo (Xiamen) Landing Gear Services Co Ltd, and his local colleagues recently engaged in a passionate discussion with airport representatives on the expansion of their company's new workshop.

"Our current capacity allows for the completion of about 300 aircraft legs per year and we aim to increase that number to 365 later this year, or one leg a day on average through the year. However, we need additional space to reach this goal," said Pinter.

To address shortage of space in the current building and support its growth plans, the company may need to consider external storage options, he said.

Over the past several months, China's optimized COVID-19 response has generated more business not only for the company but also providers of aviation consumables, aircraft repair and engine maintenance, catering firms, and both cargo and passenger airlines.

For instance, Xiamen Customs, a local unit of China's General Administration of Customs, supervised 385 inbound and outbound maintenance flights in 2022, up nearly 14 percent on a yearly basis. The actual import and export value of aviation maintenance and processing trade had more than doubled last year. These businesses continued to grow at a high rate in the first two months of this year.


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