BEIJING — China’s service trade deficit fell 5.3 percent in 2017, pointing to an optimized structure, according to a foreign trade report by the Ministry of Commerce (MOC).
The country’s service trade deficit stood at about 1.62 trillion yuan (about $255 billion) last year, according to the MOC report issued last week.
Exports of trade in services rose 10.6 percent to 1.54 trillion yuan, while imports climbed 5.1 percent to 3.16 trillion yuan.
It was the first time since 2011 that the growth of exports outrated imports in service trade.
Traditional service industries of transportation, tourism and building accounted for 65.6 percent of the total service trade value, 1.1 percentage points lower than the previous year.
Trade for new services including telecommunication, information, culture, entertainment and property rights experienced fast growth.
China’s trade deficit in property rights rose to 160.85 billion yuan, up 6 percent year on year.
Service trade with the Belt and Road countries surged 18.4 percent year-on-year to 660.34 billion yuan, accounting for 14.1 percent of the total.
Shanghai, Beijing and Guangdong province took the lead in foreign service trade.
In 2017, Chinese companies inked service outsourcing contracts worth 1.2 trillion yuan, up 26.8 percent year-on-year, hitting a record high.
Trade in services refers to the sale and delivery of intangible products such as transportation, tourism, telecommunications, construction, advertising, computing and accounting.
China has taken steps to improve the development of trade in services, including gradually opening up the finance, education, culture and medical treatment sectors.
In January this year, a government-backed investment fund of 30 billion yuan was launched to guide the development of the service trade industry.
China has opened 120 industries related to service trade for foreign investors, surpassing the goal of 100 industries set when China joined the World Trade Organization nearly two decades ago.