Business / Economy

China's service sector opening to foreign investment

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-05-30 09:11

BEIJING - Under pressure at home and abroad, China is turning to the service sector to buoy foreign trade and restructure its economy.

Suffering from large deficits in service trade, Chinese officials have promised greater openness in the sector to foreign companies in the hope of beefing up the country's own service providers.

"We are considering the feasibility of setting up a set of targeted rules to facilitate service trade," Tong Daochi, assistant minister of commerce, said at a forum of the ongoing Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services.

According to Tong, China will steadily open up finance, logistics, energy saving, telecommunication, environmental protection sectors to overseas firms, and encourage Chinese and foreign companies to cooperate in knowledge-intensive sectors such as software engineering.

While popular "Made in China" merchandise helped China become the world's top goods trader, trade in services has lagged behind.

China reported a deficit of $41.7 billion in service trade in the first four months of 2014.

"We imported a lot of finance, computer and advisory services as China has no high-end providers in such sectors," explained Tong.

With a lack of competitive homegrown service companies, China's service trade accounted for just 11.5 percent of the country's total foreign trade last year, while the global average was around 20 percent.

To restructure its economy, China now eyes the service sector as a strategic priority. The central government has issued a string of guidelines in recent months to support development of the sector.

China's service sector opening to foreign investment

China's service sector opening to foreign investment

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