CIFTIS and China’s Determination to Further Opening Up

Trade fairs such as CIFTIS provide great opportunities to catch a glimpse of the world’s digital future alongside China’s fast-growing service industry.
by Sophia Chatterjee
Photo taken on Sept 4, 2021 shows an automatic coffee-making robot during the 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, capital of China. by Chen Jian/China Pictorial

All eyes are on the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) thanks to its potential impact on a rebound of services trade and the recovery of the world economy. Themed “Towards a Digital Future and Service-Driven Development,” this year’s CIFTIS has introduced a special section for digital services featuring participation from 33 well-known enterprises and institutions.

In a video address to the opening ceremony of the event, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled a slew of measures to facilitate greater trade in services as part of China’s latest efforts to share its development opportunities and boost global economic recovery. According to President Xi, China is working to create more possibilities for cooperation by increasing support for the growth of the services sector in Belt and Road partner countries and by sharing its technological achievements with the rest of the world. He also noted that China would continue to support innovation-driven development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

In recent years, China has been accelerating the pace of deepening the reform and opening up of the service sector. The recently announced Beijing stock exchange is expected to help deepen financial supply-side structural reform and improve capital market systems. The new stock exchange will hopefully become the primary platform serving innovation-oriented SMEs and a link to the multi-level capital market.

Deemed as the most active sector of international trade, services have broad development prospects and are poised to exert a far-reaching influence on the global economy as it undergoes a new round of major development and changes. China will ease market access for service industries and actively expand imports of high-quality services. It’s no exaggeration to say that China is growing faster in the service sector than any other country.

As the first major economy worldwide to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, China is ideal for business, especially the service industry which represents the future of the world economy. Trade fairs such as CIFTIS provide great opportunities to get a sense of the world’s digital future alongside China’s fast-growing service industry.

A new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation has boosted digital technologies and accelerated integration of various industries, driving the service economy to flourish. Trade in services has become a new engine of the world economy. The service economy, supported by new infrastructure and represented by online services, is becoming the most dynamic part of economic growth.

As a massive exhibition and platform dedicated to trade in services, CIFTIS is playing a critical role in boosting global trade after it was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The event shines light on China’s confidence and determination to unswervingly continue its opening up and contributing to the global economy through international cooperation.


The author is a professor at Delhi University in India.