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Foreign firms rosy on Chinese market

China Daily| Updated: September 4, 2023 L M S

Confidence boosted by country's further opening-up of services sector

President Xi Jinping's call to further open up the services sector and enhance global cooperation to propel global economic recovery, as well as to develop new technologies and business forms and models, has boosted the confidence of foreign businesses, said executives and experts.

It also has given these enterprises more opportunities to expand their presence in the Chinese market, they said.

They made the remarks during the 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services, which runs through Wednesday in Beijing, after Xi addressed the Global Trade in Services Summit via video link on Saturday, when the fair opened.

In developing the services sector and trade in services, China will work with all countries and parties to advance inclusive development through openness, Xi said. It will also promote connectivity and integration through cooperation, foster drivers for development through innovation, and create a better future through shared services, in a bid to jointly get the world economy on the track of sustained recovery, he added.

As the world's second-largest economy heads toward a development path driven by greater openness, cooperation and innovation in its services sector, executives of foreign companies are optimistic about the massive opportunities provided by China's huge market and its enabling business climate.

"China has emerged as a catalyst for the upgrading of global consumer demand, showcasing the robust resilience of its economy and injecting vitality into worldwide economic growth," said Jack Chan, chairman of EY China.

In the first half of 2023, the country's trade in services garnered remarkable achievements, ranking at the forefront globally. This accomplishment is attributed to the profound adjustments in economic structure and the optimization and upgrading of industrial composition, Chan said.

In the first seven months of the year, China's trade in services maintained stable growth, with its total value reaching 3.67 trillion yuan($505.4 billion), up 8.1 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

"The ongoing deepening of China's openness in the services sector represents a pivotal element in securing its domestic economic development. The country's vibrant growth of trade in services, driven by the forces of decarbonization and digitalization, presented a reference for the rest of the world," Chan said.

China will roll out plans to accelerate the cultivation of new drivers for the digitalization of trade in services, implement pilot reforms on basic data systems and promote the development of digital trade through reform and innovation. The country will also establish a national voluntary greenhouse gas emission reduction trading market and boost the services sector's role in green development.

Jiang Xiaojuan, president of the China Society of Industrial Economics, said on Saturday that digital globalization has given rise to a new type of services trade, with the potential to slash cross-border transaction costs and increase the efficiency of international trade.

China's digital services providers have strong competitiveness in riding the wave of digital globalization, Jiang said. The nation should fully harness the opportunities presented by global industrial upgrading and build an international cooperation and exchange platform that will drive the growth of global digital trade, Jiang added.

Norman Sze, vice-chair of Deloitte China, said at the trade in services fair that President Xi's remarks demonstrated China's unwavering confidence and determination in promoting profound reforms through high-level openness and in further expediting a new development pattern.

Under that pattern, the domestic market is the mainstay and the domestic and international markets reinforce each other.

China will vigorously boost domestic demand, accelerate the building of a robust domestic market, take the initiative to increase imports of quality services and encourage more exports of knowledge-intensive services, Xi said.

According to Sze, "This approach is conducive to collaborative efforts with other countries to stimulate global economic recovery and growth, and it plays a crucial role in aggregating 'China's voice' and 'China's solutions' in advancing higher-level openness to the world."

Mohammed Al Ajlan, deputy chairman of Ajlan & Bros Group, said, "As the first Saudi private company to participate in the CIFTIS for two consecutive years, we are looking forward to taking this platform to conduct in-depth exchanges with more Chinese companies.

"We hope to strengthen cooperation in emerging fields such as 5G,artificial intelligence, big data, biotechnology, financial technology and automation, among others, join hands with more Chinese companies to tap into the potential of Saudi-China bilateral economic and trade cooperation, and help investors from the two countries achieve a higher level of cooperation," Al Ajlan added.

Jin Zhongxia, head of the International Department of the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, said at a separate meeting on Sunday that to further promote financial sector opening-up at a higher standard, the country will improve the management model of pre-establishment national treatment plus the negative list, optimize the business climate and strengthen regulatory capacity to control risks at a level commensurate with openness.