Global leaders highlight importance of services trade, commend co-op with China

From Our Correspondent

BEIJING: Government leaders worldwide and officials in international organizations have applauded the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) unveiled on Friday in Beijing, stressing the importance of services trade and cooperation with China in promoting global economic recovery.
Trade in services must underpin most national and regional development strategies, said Mukhisa Kituyi, secretary-general of UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in his online speech at the opening of the fair on Friday.
“A services-led structural transformation is today a viable development strategy for many developing countries, and efforts at addressing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic can be a catalyst at setting this transformation in motion,” he said.
Taking ICT (Information and Communications Technology) services and digitization as an example, Kituyi held that services-backed digitization can be instrumental to improving supply and export capacity and therefore enhancing economic resilience and promoting post-pandemic recovery.
“China knows better than most countries the critical role the new generation of information technologies can play in epidemic control and prevention, and continuation of industrial production,” he noted.
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez stressed on Friday the importance of trade in services for the country’s development, saying that Argentina is “proudly” joining the fair, which is one of the largest and most important events following efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also highlighted that mutually beneficial cooperation with China is key to global economic recovery, and expressed the desire to deepen ties with the Asian country.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha also said Friday that his country is looking forward to stepping up bilateral trade and service cooperation with China.
He expressed admiration for China’s commitment to strengthening international trade and economic cooperation, promoting world economic recovery and ensuring stable global demand and supply chains.
As Thailand has taken an active part in exhibitions and forums on food, energy and many other areas during the CIFTIS, Prayut said he hopes trade barriers will be reduced and more transparent rules for trading services will be introduced.
To prevent the global economic downturn caused by the pandemic and boost trade in services as a new growth engine, South Korean Deputy Prime Minister Hong Nam-ki said Friday that South Korea and China are “required to alleviate excessive regulations and policy barriers that restrict services trade.”