Service trade innovation pilot expands digital trade into a new engine

Expanded from the original 17 pilot areas to 28, and added Urumqi, Kunming and other central and western cities

  Service trade is gradually becoming another important growth point in my country's economic development and transformation. On August 19, the Ministry of Commerce held a special press conference to give an in-depth interpretation of the recently released "Overall Plan for Comprehensively Deepening the Pilot Program for the Innovation and Development of Service Trade" (hereinafter referred to as the "Overall Plan").

  Following the approval of the State Council to launch pilot projects in Tianjin, Shanghai, Beijing and other regions, this new round of pilot projects will be expanded from the original 17 pilot areas to 28 pilot areas, adding Dalian, Xiamen, Qingdao, Shijiazhuang, 9 provincial capital cities including Changchun, Hefei, Jinan, Kunming, Urumqi, and cities separately listed in the plan. The Gui'an New Area and Guiyang, Xixian New Area and Xi’an are contiguously developed, and the Liangjiang New Area is also expanded to 21 municipal districts in Chongqing.

  At the same time, the new round of pilot projects has also launched many new measures, such as the pilot digital renminbi and the pilot program to facilitate the use of mobile payments by foreigners in China. Xian Guoyi, Director of the Service and Trade Department of the Ministry of Commerce, said that the current round of pilot projects is a "full deepening" on the basis of the previous two rounds. Focusing on the promotion of service trade reform, opening up, and innovation, 8 pilot tasks and 122 specific measures were proposed in three aspects.

What are the changes in the new round of pilot projects?

Expansion of pilot areas and innovative layout of digital trade fields

  Compared with more surpluses in trade in goods, my country's trade in services is more in deficit. According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, in the first half of this year, service exports reached 912.79 billion yuan, while imports were 1314.49 billion yuan. There is still a service trade deficit. Against this background, China is currently vigorously promoting service trade innovation and development.

  So, after the release of the "Overall Plan", what changes have taken place in the new round of pilots compared with the previous ones?

  Of course, the most obvious change is that the new round of pilot projects has expanded from the original 17 pilot areas to 28 pilot areas. Shell Finance reporter noted that many of the newly added cities are in the central and western regions, such as Urumqi, Kunming, etc., in addition, coordinated the development of the western Gui'an New District and Guiyang, Xixian New District and Xi'an, and the expansion of the Liangjiang New District to 21 municipal districts in Chongqing.

  Xian Guoyi explained that half of the newly added pilot areas this time are in the central and western and northeastern old industrial bases, a higher proportion than the previous two rounds of pilots. The reason for this layout is that, on the one hand, it is the need to implement the high-quality construction of the "One Belt and One Road", the development of the western region, the revitalization of the Northeast and other national development strategies; on the other hand, the pace of development of the service industry and service trade in the central and western regions in recent years Speed ​​up and have the foundation and conditions for institutional innovation.

  "Moreover, the experience of these local pilots is more meaningful for the central and western regions. We hope that these pilot areas can become the leaders in the development of service trade in the central and western regions, play a demonstrative and leading role, and promote the overall level of service trade development in the central and western regions." Xian Guoyi Said.

  In addition, compared with the previous round, the new round of pilot projects also proposed 122 specific measures to promote reform, opening up and innovation of service trade.

  For example, in terms of reforms, the management authority of the "Ship Business Transportation Certificate", the approval power of foreign personnel’s children’s schools, the pre-licensing matters for the entry of animals and plants and their products at the exhibition were delegated, the qualification scope of technology import and export operators was expanded, and the approval process for foreign travel agencies was simplified Wait.

  In terms of opening up, the new round of reforms will focus on 26 measures, such as launching a pilot program for domestic law firms to hire foreign lawyers as foreign legal advisers in pilot areas where conditions are met; allowing qualified foreigners to take the patent agent qualification examination.

  In terms of innovation, in line with the development trend of the digital economy under the new situation, especially in the field of digital trade, some policy measures have been deployed, such as exploring a cross-border data flow classification supervision model, launching a pilot program for cross-border data transmission security management, and launching a digital RMB Pilot projects, to facilitate the use of mobile payment by foreigners in China, etc.

What is the significance to the overall economy?

Bring at least three opportunities

  Xian Guoyi said that the comprehensive deepening of the pilot program will bring at least three opportunities, including market expansion opportunities, innovative development opportunities and international cooperation opportunities. The export of emerging services such as digital trade, copyright transactions, and online education will become new growth points.

  Peng Bo, an associate researcher of the Institute of International Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce, also told Shell Finance reporters that the new round of pilot projects is a step to promote reform and opening up, because the pace of reform and opening up in the service industry in China is relatively slow. Secondly, this is a step to enhance China's international competitiveness. After all, compared with commodity trade, China's service trade development level is relatively lagging behind. In addition, this is also a measure for China to overcome the difficulties caused by the epidemic crisis. After all, the digital economy and trade in services are less affected by the epidemic than the traditional economy and commodity trade.

  "At the same time, this is also an aspect of strengthening internal circulation. The government has issued policies in the hope that it can accelerate the construction of internal industrial chains and further strengthen internal circulation, because the service industry and the manufacturing industry complement and promote each other. Finally, this is also for Measures to better respond to Sino-US trade frictions. At present, China is expanding its opening up and actively attracting high-quality global resources to strengthen its own strength." Peng Bo further analyzed.

  Zhou Maohua, an analyst at the Financial Markets Department of Everbright Bank, believes that from the perspective of my country's mid- and long-term economic transformation, the service industry, especially the high-end service industry, needs to be vigorously promoted in the future. Secondly, my country's service trade is a shortcoming, which requires policy guidance. In addition, the service industry itself is very meaningful, with less pollution, high added value, and strong job creation ability, which is also in line with the direction of my country's consumption and industrial upgrading.

  "At present, the domestic low-value-added, high-consumption industrial manufacturing industry is difficult to maintain for a long time. Through the development of industrial service industries and increasing the overall industrial manufacturing added value, it can accelerate the transformation and upgrading of China's industrial manufacturing industry. At the same time, the service industry has also become our country. A major direction for the transformation of the central and western regions, old industrial cities and energy-exhausted cities.” Zhou Maohua said.

How does service trade go in the second half of the year?

The trend of expanding deficit after the initial pilot project reverses the crisis in the second half of the year

  The previous pilot projects for innovative development of trade in services have begun to show results. Statistics show that the service trade in the 17 pilot regions accounted for more than 75% of the country's total, and the service trade has developed faster than the whole country. At the same time, after the pilot program, since 2017, my country's service exports have continued to grow faster than imports, and the trend of continuous expansion of the service trade deficit has been reversed. In 2019, my country's service exports reached 283.6 billion U.S. dollars, and its ranking rose from 5th in 2018 to 4th in the world.

  However, since the beginning of this year, the new crown pneumonia epidemic has swept the world and service trade has also been affected. Statistics show that my country's total service imports and exports in the first half of the year were approximately 2.23 trillion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 14.7%.

  Since the outbreak of the epidemic, countries have adopted strict measures to restrict the cross-border movement of people, and the import and export of travel services worldwide has been greatly affected. In the first half of the year, China's travel service import and export reached 558.08 billion yuan, a decrease of 42.9%, which caused the decline in service trade. major factor. Excluding travel services, China's service imports and exports in the first half of the year did not decrease but increased by 2.1%.

  Xian Guoyi believes that at present, domestic epidemic prevention and control have achieved major strategic results, but the overseas epidemic is still spreading, the world economy is severely recessed, and international demand has shrunk sharply. The situation facing my country's service trade development in the second half of the year is still severe and complex. However, we must also see that the epidemic will have a profound impact on the global service trade pattern, consumption patterns, and consumption habits. The development of service trade is organic and the competitiveness of my country's service trade continues to increase, and the long-term trend of improvement has not changed.

  Beijing News Shell Finance reporter / Pan Yichun