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China designates service industry new growth engine

Updated: May 29,2013 11:27 AM     Xinhua

Premier Li Keqiang delivers a speech at the 2nd China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFITIS) and Global Services Forum-Beijing Summit in Beijing, capital of China, May 29, 2013.[Photo by Rao Aimin/Xinhua]

BEIJING -- China will step up efforts to build up its service industry to make it a new engine to power sustainable growth, Premier Li Keqiang said on May 29.

Speaking at a summit during the second Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services, Li stressed the important role of the service industry in job creation and economic upgrading.

“Increasing service supplies and improving service qualities will help unleash huge potential in domestic demand, and thus offer firm support for stable economic growth and structural optimization,” he said.

The latest emphasis on service trade is part of China’s efforts to drive growth in the sector to build an upgraded version of the economy.

In 2012, the service industry accounted for 44.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), up 2.7 percentage points from a year earlier but still significantly below the share of 60 percent or more seen in many developed countries.

Li noted the key to spur growth in the area lies in reform and opening-up to remove institutional barriers.

“China will further open up the service industry, and pilot free trade experimental zones to tap development,” he said, adding that the government will seek balanced trade and encourage cross-border investments in the sector.

The premier stressed countries should abide by the win-win principles of rising against protectionism, removing trade barriers, and coordinating efforts to facilitate personnel flows, recognition of qualifications and a setting of standards.

Developed countries should lead the effort to open up their markets, while developing economies should be actively engaged in building the global trade mechanism and standards in the service industry, according to Li.

Under China’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), the country aims to bring the sector’s proportion of GDP to 47 percent by 2015 and to make it a strategic focus for the country’s industrial restructuring and upgrading to ease reliance on traditional manufacturing.

The five-day Fair for Trade in Services, hosted by the Ministry of Commerce and the Beijing municipal government, runs from May 28 to June 1.

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