Negative lists for trade in services to be issued soon

China’s highly anticipated negative lists for cross-border trade in services are in the pipeline as the draft version for the Hainan Free Trade Port is currently undergoing processing for final release. China plans to release the negative list for the Hainan FTP first, followed by versions covering pilot free trade zones as well as the entire nation, said Nie Pingxiang, Deputy Director of the Service Trade Institute under the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). “The negative lists are likely to come out soon, probably within the year,” Nie said, adding that based on the Hainan version, the shortest of all three, drafting of the other two will be easier. Experts said those negative lists for cross-border trade in services are expected to tackle various issues, including restrictions on cross-border supplies, overseas market consumption and movement of individuals.

China’s trade in services has been growing rapidly, accounting for an increasingly larger share of total foreign trade. The latest data from MOFCOM showed that the country’s services trade rose 3.3% from a year ago to CNY1.56 trillion in the first four months. Services exports reached CNY746.21 billion, surging 23.2% year-on-year, and services imports stood at CNY818.24 billion, down 10%. In April alone, China’s trade in services reached CNY406.19 billion, up 12.3% year-on-year, with services exports climbing 24.3% and imports growing 2.7%. The proportion of China’s services trade within total foreign trade increased from 11.1% in 2010 to 14.6% in 2019, Chi Fulin, President of the China Institute for Reform and Development in Hainan, said.

Ministry of Commerce officials have said that introducing the negative list management system is an important measure to boost the development and opening-up of the country’s services industry, the China Daily reports.