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Chinese trade container

The Chinese government has announced it will widen market access for trade in international services, creating more opportunities for UK services providers in the world’s second largest economy.

President Xi Jinping told the China International Fair for Trade in Services, held in Beijing over the weekend (2-3 September), that his government would focus on expanding China’s domestic market.

Xi said China would work with “all countries and parties” to boost services, which he viewed as crucial to helping the wider global economy grow.

New standards

The moves are expected to change China’s business standards so that they match the international norm. The Chinese leader also promised a reform of data protection laws as means to promote services trade.

As reported by Reuters, China’s focus will be on high-end manufacturing and other modern services industries.

Future is services

Rebeca Grynspan, secretary-General of UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), told the same conference that the global economy was moving towards a ‘hybrid model’ where cross-border services play “an ever larger role” alongside the trade in goods:

“This shift not only reveals the evolving dynamics of global commerce, but it also brings to light new opportunities and challenges that we, as an international community, must address together.

“According to UNCTAD, service exports reached $7tr last year, up from $3tr in 2006. Remarkably, for most years in the last two decades, service exports from developing countries have grown faster than those from developed nations, demonstrating the dynamism and potential of this sector in the Global South.”


Henriette Gjaerde, trade in services & trade agreements lead at the Institute of Export & International Trade, said that Grynspan’s words reflected a wider belief of a shift in the international trading world:

“International trade is being transformed by the growth of digitisation of services, making it increasingly easier for services to be traded across borders while becoming essential to modern economies.

“This trend is crucial for the future as it offers a more diversified approach to trade, opens up new opportunities and paves a path towards sustainable economic growth in our digital age.”