New steps are being taken in China to open up this country's service sector to more investment through new reform projects.
China's State Council has approved a plan proposed by the Ministry of Commerce to deepen pilot projects for the innovative development of the service trade.
The plan contains eight major tasks, including a further expanding of the service sector.
Xian Guoyi, the director of the Service Trade Department of the China's Ministry of Commerce, says there's still a lot of room for improvement in China's service trade sector.
"From China's perspective, as the country is taking part in and promoting economic globalization at a fast pace. Service trade has played an increasingly important role in China's foreign trade as well as its status in the global value chain. China's service trade ranks second in the world in scale. However, in general, China's service trade began relatively late, meaning its foundation wasn't very solid. We just didn't have enough experience, quality and structure, meaning China's service trade is still being upgraded," says Xian.
In order to strengthen the service sector, new approaches to open up several service areas will be introduced.
"Wholly foreign-funded banks, Chinese-foreign joint-venture banks and branches of foreign banks are allowed to apply for Chinese yuan business operations while applying for business startups. This is a very significant breakthrough compared with the existing policy. Another example is to lift the foreign share ownership limits on setting up market-oriented offshore call centers. New approaches will also be taken in six areas such as visa convenience, cross-border self-driving tour and engineering consulting services and legal services," says Xian.
The pilot programs will eventually make China's open economy more competitive.
"Through efforts from all relevant parties, the pilot programs will become a new platform for the innovative development of China's service trade sector, promote China's own service sector to the world, and bring more advantages to China's economy," says Xian.
The pilot projects will be carried out in 13 cities and provincial regions, as well as four national-level areas, including the Xiongan New Area outside Beijing.
The trials will run from July 1st this year to June 30th, 2020.