China approves innovative pilot program on trade in services in 28 provinces and cities

China's State Council on Tuesday approved a pilot program on the comprehensive and innovative development of trade in services in 28 provinces and cities to boost the development of service trade in the country.

The provinces and cities include Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, Hainan, Dalian, Xiamen, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Shijiazhuang. The pilot program will last for three years, starting from Tuesday, said the State Council.

The State Council said the program will implement the new development concept, take the supply-side structural reform as the main line and insist on reform and opening up, creating an opportunity for service trade development. It also aims to stabilize foreign trade and promote the transformation and upgrading of foreign trade and high-quality development.

This year, the country's trade in services has been affected by the COVID-19 epidemic. During the first five months, the services trade totaled 1.87 trillion yuan (about 264.8 billion U.S. dollars), down 14.6 percent year on year. In June, China's trade in services also saw a 73.9-billion-yuan deficit.

China has continued to support the development of trade in services, and kept improving its structure. The 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) is set to kick off in early September. Over 100 business groups, embassies, and international organizations are expected to participate. 

In contrast to merchandise trade, trade in services refers to the sale and delivery of intangible products such as transportation, tourism, telecommunications, construction, advertising, computing, and accounting.

(Cover: A CIFTIS promo displayed on a shopping mall in Beijing, August 4, 2020./ VCG)