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November 7, 2018

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Fast growth seen in service imports

CHINA has seen fast growth in service imports since it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, according to a report released by China’s Ministry of Commerce at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai yesterday.

The report revealed that service imports surged to US$467.6 billion in 2017 from US$39.3 billion in 2001, with its global share increasing to 9 percent from 2.6 percent, lifting its world ranking from 10th to second place.

It is the first report on service imports to be issued by the Chinese government.

China’s cumulative service imports are expected to exceed US$2.5 trillion in the next five years, the report said. The country’s service imports will account for more than 10 percent of global service imports, contributing over 20 percent to total global growth in the next five years.

During the same period, China will see more than US$700 billion of cumulative imports in emerging services, including charges for the use of intellectual property, telecommunications, computer and information services, financial services, and personal cultural and recreational services.

Xian Guoyi, head of the service trade department at the commerce ministry, said China’s service imports not only met the needs of the Chinese people for a better life and facilitated domestic industrial structural transformation and upgrading, but also brought new opportunities for global trade growth.

“We will continue to expand the opening-up of the service sector, improve the service system for service imports, create a sound market environment, deepen multilateral and bilateral trade cooperation, and increase imports of high-quality services,” Xian said.

Over the past five years, with the average global annual growth rate being 3 percent, China’s service imports maintained an average annual growth rate of 10.7 percent.

In the next five years, China’s imports of travel services are expected to exceed US$1.4 trillion, while Chinese tourists will make an estimated total of 700 million outbound trips as the country’s consumption power grows, thus “becoming an important driver of the global economic growth,” Xian said.

China has been the world’s biggest spender on outbound travel for six consecutive years. In 2017, the spending by Chinese tourists was close to a fifth of the total global travel revenue.

Last year, China spent US$28.74 billion on imports of charges for the use of intellectual property, up nearly 14 folds from 2001, the report said. The United States was the top source for such imports, followed by Japan and Germany.

Most of China’s charges for the use of intellectual property imports went to patents, trademarks and copyrights, according to the report. In 2017, import of charges for the use of intellectual property accounted for 6.1 percent of China’s total service imports.

China has always been an important player in, active builder and firm defender of international property rules, the commerce ministry said.


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