Journalists walk in the temporary outdoor venue of the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, capital of China, Sept 3, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING – As the world economy is shivering in a harsh winter amid the coronavirus pandemic, the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) opened here on Friday brings a ray of warmth to boost economic recovery and crack open new space for global growth.

As one of the world”s most comprehensive fairs for trade in services, the CIFTIS provides over the coming five days both online and offline platforms for exhibitions, forums and business negotiations in different services trade sectors.

The CIFTIS is one of China’s three major open exhibition platforms, together with the China Import and Export Fair, popularly known as Canton Fair, and the China International Import Expo, which have yielded fruitful results over past years.

The world economy is now grappling with perhaps the worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s, and is desperately searching for a fresh and strong boost.

The fair can act as an important gateway for high-quality international services to enter the ever-opening Chinese market, and for China to promote its own competitive services brand names among customers worldwide.

China has become an important growth driver in services trade in recent years, according to a 2019 report issued by the World Trade Organization. China’s own official statistics show that the country’s trade in services grew from $654.2 billion in 2015 to $785 billion in 2019, with annual average growth hitting 4.7 percent, ranking second in the world.

Despite the disruption brought about by the pandemic, Beijing’s relentless drive to further press ahead with China’s domestic consumption upgrade signifies potential business opportunities for China’s services trading partners all around the globe.

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According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, in the first half of this year, China’s services trade totaled 320 billion dollars, with the trade deficits narrowed by 46.1 percent year-on-year.

And by further bolstering services trade, China is actively optimizing its trade structure, and deepening its participation in the global value chain.

Emerging sectors in services trade featuring digitalization and Internet Plus technologies will be a highlight at this year’s CIFTIS, and boast a bright prospect for faster development in the post-pandemic era.

From hi-tech financial services, intelligent sports, 5G telecommunications to service robots, manless driving and online education, the CIFTIS booths present a wide array of edge-cutting industries, offering a glimpse of the wave of the future in global industrial advancement.

Facing this trend, it is essential for countries worldwide to seize those new growth opportunities as they are striving to weather the COVID economic impact, and jumpstart recovery as soon as possible. And the exhibition can serve as a platform for businesses in those emerging sectors to conduct face-to-face exchanges for future cooperation, an utterly rare chance amid a raging pandemic.

The CIFTIS also sends out a strong signal that open cooperation and free trade still prevail in the world, given the rise of trade protectionism and economic nationalism in recent years and the hype of “de-coupling” theory since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Statistics show that this year’s CIFTIS has attracted 17,000 companies within China and beyond. More than 100 international organizations, embassies in China, commerce associations and institutions will also take part in the event. Those enthusiastic participants can show that the need for broader and deeper connections across the globe is growing rather than shrinking.

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And by holding the event, Beijing has once again demonstrated its firm belief in free trade and an open global economy, as well as its rock-solid determination to further open up its market to the wider world.

During the event, China is expected to release a package of opening-up policies, another major move to consolidate its commitments to open trade and mutually beneficial cooperation.

In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, China has made impressive and widely-acknowledged contributions to helping pull the then hard-hit global economy out of a grievous contraction.

As the global economy is facing the risk of being thrust again into deep freeze, the CIFTIS 2020 will open up another opportunity to China and the rest of the world to join efforts, and ignite a new spark for fast and steady global recovery.

Via China Daily