At present, the global service trade is swiftly rising, emerging as the latest engine of worldwide economic growth. In March 2023, the latest "Global Trade Update" released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development highlighted that the growth in global service trade for 2022 increased by approximately 15 percent year-on-year, surpassing the growth rate of goods trade, which stood at around 10 percent.
In parallel, China's service trade has demonstrated remarkable resilience, maintaining a rapid pace of growth. Data from China's Ministry of Commerce indicates that the nation's service trade imports and exports in 2022 reached nearly 6 trillion yuan ($833.5 billion), a growth of 12.9 percent from the previous year, breaking historical records, and ranking second in the world for nine consecutive years. Therefore, the hosting of the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), recognized as the foremost global comprehensive exhibition in the field of service trade, aligns seamlessly with the evolving trends of the world economy and further accelerates global service trade expansion by providing an international platform for all countries.
In terms of the theme, the 2023 CIFTIS champions the theme "Opening-up for Better Development, Cooperation for Win-Win Future," signaling China's unwavering confidence and determination to broaden its high-level openness to the world and jointly promote the prosperity and development of global service trade. On the one hand, the 2023 CIFTIS signifies China's commitment to pushing forward a high level of opening-up. Currently, as the reconstruction of the global value chain presents the characteristics of shortening, localization, diversification, and greening, service trade acts as a pivotal adhesive, playing a critically indispensable role. The CIFTIS, striving to lead development through the openness of services, epitomizes China's proactive integration into the world market against the backdrop of globalization, thus offering vast expanses for the growth of global service trade.
On the other hand, it also emphasizes the mounting importance of pursuing a cooperative path in an era where the global economy is beset with myriad challenges and uncertainties. China has been a long-standing advocate of the multilateral trade system, supporting trade liberalization and promoting amicable collaboration among nations. Prioritizing engagement over decoupling further reflects China's proactive endeavors and responsibilities in partnering with nations worldwide to promote the openness and sharing of service trade and boost global economic recovery.
Then shifting focus to the characteristics, the 2023 CIFTIS emphasizes a more pronounced high-level and specialized orientation. The Ministry of Commerce pioneered its "Invest in China Year" Special Promotion Conference during the fair. Simultaneously, a series of related forums have been held such as the China E-commerce Convention and the Forum on Trends and Latest Developments of Digital Trade. These pragmatic initiatives further demonstrate China's continuous efforts to enhance its business environment, advance the facilitation and liberalization of service trade, and champion a higher degree of opening up in service trade.
The CIFTIS effectively propels global service collaboration and worldwide economic advancement primarily through the following ways. Firstly, it expands diversified service trade channels, thereby reinforcing the resilience of global service trade development. The 2023 CIFTIS featured exhibitions from 59 countries and 24 international organizations. Over 2,400 enterprises participated in the fair offline, with more than 500 being either Fortune 500 or industry leaders. This not only significantly amplifies the international influence of the fair but also crafts opportunities for in-depth cooperation among enterprises in various service industries, especially with globally renowned enterprises.
Secondly, it propels the digitization of service trade, thereby injecting fresh momentum into the development of global service trade. With the rapid development of cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and general large-scale models, the information technology revolution persists in its deepening trajectory, ushering in an unprecedented digital transformation in service trade.
During the fair, over 70 renowned corporations and institutions, including Schneider, Intel, Sanofi, Philips, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and the People's Insurance Company of China, unveiled a series of signed cooperative achievements, such as intelligent archive service centers, digital RMB prepaid cards, industry-belt digital maps, and novel digital twin platforms. The application of these emerging forefront technologies offers more efficient and convenient methods of service delivery, accelerates the personalization and customization of services, and intelligently expands the boundaries of international service trade, thus effectively promoting the digital transition of traditional service trade and fostering new development momentum for global service trade.
Thirdly, it promotes the greening of service trade, thereby propelling the healthy and sustainable development of global service trade. Green and low-carbon transformation has evolved into a global consensus. Presently, over 130 countries and regions have declared their "carbon neutrality" targets. The 2023 CIFTIS accomplished its zero-carbon goal, with initiatives like using recyclable, biodegradable materials for booth construction to achieve booth recycling. In addition, a series of events centered on hot topics such as carbon peak, carbon neutrality, dual-carbon empowerment for industrial development, and carbon trading were conducted. By sharing the latest achievements and technological applications in the global environmental service sector and disseminating green, low-carbon philosophies with various countries, the fair fosters a profound integration of advanced green technologies with the service industry, thus bringing a robust driving force for the healthy and continuous development of global service trade.
The CIFTIS enables enterprises to seek more cooperative opportunities, expand their diverse import and export channels for service trade, and mitigate the negative impacts on global service trade posed by challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical conflicts. And it ultimately enhances the resilience of global service trade development.