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China maintains double-digit growth in foreign service trade

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-11-17 16:22

BEIJING - China's foreign service trade continued to post double-digit growth in the first nine months of the year amid government supportive measures, official data showed Thursday.

Service trade rose 21.4 percent year on year to 3.8 trillion yuan ($560.3 billion) in the January-September period, Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Sun Jiwen said at a press conference.

In the first nine months, services accounted for 18 percent of China's total foreign trade, compared with 15.4 percent for 2015.

Distinct from merchandise trade, trade in services refers to the sale and delivery of intangible products such as transportation, tourism, telecommunications, construction, advertising, computing and accounting.

China's service trade has seen double-digit growth since the beginning of the year as the government boosts the industry to upgrade the economic structure and increase employment.

The service sector now accounts for more than half of the national economy.

In the first nine months, service imports jumped 29.1 percent year on year, driven by growth in overseas travel services, while exports climbed 8.7 percent, Sun said.

The country saw a service trade deficit of 1.2 trillion yuan in the period, up 295 billion yuan from a year earlier.

Exports of high value-added services posted rapid growth, with technology service exports rising 18.4 percent year on year, according to Sun.

Earlier this week, China's Ministry of Finance decided to offer tax breaks to the service outsourcing industry in 10 more cities in addition to 21 cities that already enjoy the benefits.

China's foreign service trade volume grew from $362.4 billion in 2011 to $713 billion in 2015, doubling the average international growth rate, earlier data showed.

The country has set a target to increase its service trade to more than $1 trillion by 2020.

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