Service trade has become a new engine for China's foreign trade growth and will likely further fuel the country's high-quality development, an official with the commerce ministry said.
"The rapid development of service trade has prompted innovation and opening-up in China's service sector," said Chen Chunjiang, head of the ministry's trade in services department, in an interview ahead of the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), which opened in Beijing Thursday.
China has been the world's second-largest country in service trade for seven years, said Chen. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), China's service imports and exports totaled 3.6 trillion U.S. dollars. It represents an increase of 29.7 percent over the 2011-2015 period.
Chen said China's trade in services witnessed structural improvement and further opening-up. He noted that the country's trade of knowledge-intensive services accounted for 44.5 percent of the total service trade in 2020, 17.1 percentage points higher than five years ago.
China has service trade relations with nearly 240 countries and regions and has signed bilateral service trade cooperation agreements with 14 countries, said Chen.
He said digital trade, which is a highlight of the CIFTIS this year, will likely become a new global trade pattern and a new trade engine in the future.
In 2020, China's digitally deliverable trade in services stood at 294.76 billion U.S. dollars, up by 8.4 percent year on year. It ranks seventh among major global economies, official data showed.
He revealed that digital trade would, for the first time, be included in China's upcoming 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) on service trade.
China will continue to push forward reform and opening-up in the service trade sector, further develop digital trade, promote international cooperation on service trade, and help improve the global service trade rules and governance, said Chen.
Themed "Towards Digital Future and Service-driven Development," the CIFTIS this year will be held from Sept. 2 to Sept. 7 and feature a section for digital services for the first time.
The trade fair has attracted more than 10,000 enterprises from 153 countries and regions. Among them, 2,400 firms will showcase their products and services offline.