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October 19, 2016

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Foreign service trade rises rapidly

CHINA’S foreign service trade maintained rapid growth in the first eight months of the year, with a worsening deficit, the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday.

Service trade rose 24 percent year on year to 3.5 trillion yuan (US$519 billion) in the January-August period, extending the trend of double-digit growth seen since the beginning of the year, ministry spokesman Shen Danyang told a press conference.

Services accounted for 18.1 percent of China’s overall foreign trade as of the end of August, up 2.7 percentage points from a year earlier, Shen said.

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

China is endeavoring to shift its economic structure so that it is more consumption and service-driven, instead of relying on investment and industrial production. The service sector now accounts for more than half of the national economy.

In the first eight months, service exports climbed 11.2 percent year on year to 1.2 trillion yuan, while imports soared 31.9 percent to 2.3 trillion yuan, Shen said.

A near 50 percent surge in imports of travel services led to a 1.1 trillion yuan service trade deficit, which was up 277.3 billion yuan from the same period of last year, Shen said.

As the country adjusted the structure of its foreign service trade to make it based more on sophisticated exports, shipments of computing, technology and advertising services grew 22.7 percent, 58 percent and 71 percent year on year, respectively.


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