China’s service imports to reach 2.5 trln USD in next five years: ministry

SHANGHAI, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) — China’s service imports are expected to reach 2.5 trillion U.S. dollars in the next five years as the country continues to open up its vast market, according to the country’s commerce ministry.

This will account for more than 10 percent of the global total, the Ministry of Commerce said Friday in a report on China’s service imports released on the sidelines of the ongoing third China International Import Expo.

Outbound travel spending is likely to exceed 1 trillion U.S. dollars during the period, while the import of digital services, including charges for the use of intellectual property and financial services, may top 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars, said the report.

China will relax foreign shareholding restrictions in value-added telecommunications services, commercial services and transport, to invigorate the modern service industry, the ministry said.

With a negative list for cross-border trade in services underway, China will also reduce restrictions on overseas service providers and their services in sectors such as travel, medical care, education, law, scientific and technological services, culture, finance and e-commerce, it said.

Since its accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001, China has imported services worth 4.7 trillion U.S. dollars, with an average annual growth rate of 15.2 percent, far exceeding the global average of 7.7 percent, according to the report.

In 2019 alone, China’s service imports provided more than 18 million jobs for its trading partners, it said, citing figures from the World Bank and the UN’s International Labor Organization.

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, China’s digital services imports increased 5.6 percent year on year in the first eight months of 2020.

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