BEIJING — China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) has released a negative list for cross-border trade in services in the southern island province of Hainan, the first negative list for services trade in the country.
The list outlines 70 special management measures in 11 categories for overseas services providers, according to a statement on the website of the MOC.
Scheduled to become effective on Aug. 26, the negative list widens market access to trade in services and makes higher-level opening-up arrangements in professional, transport and financial services, among others.
For areas not included in the list, domestic and overseas services providers shall have a level playing field and enjoy equal market access in Hainan free trade port, the statement said.
ACTIVE, WIDER OPENING-UP
Hailing the move as a “major breakthrough” in the administration mode of services trade, Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said at a press conference on Monday that it is an active choice by China to promote its opening-up.
The openness level of cross-border services trade under the negative list goes beyond China’s commitments when it joined the World Trade Organization and is even higher than that in major free trade agreements it has signed, according to Wang.
For example, in the financial services sector, the new list allows overseas individuals to apply for securities and futures accounts, as well as qualifications to provide consulting services on securities and futures investment.
The negative list will greatly enhance the transparency, level of opening-up, and predictability of services trade, Wang said, adding that China’s resolve to deepen opening-up remains unchanged despite severe domestic and international situations.
BOOSTING HAINAN FREE TRADE PORT
The negative list also mirrors the characteristics of Hainan Province, Wang said. The island aims to build itself into a high-level free trade port by the middle of the century.
The services sector has been an underpinning industry of Hainan, accounting for over 60 percent of the province’s GDP and contributing to 95.8 percent of its economic growth, Wang said.
The new list would enhance the openness of business services, as well as the educational and cultural fields, which will help Hainan foster an internationalized business environment and pool global innovation resources, he said.
It would advance the liberalization of services trade, promote China’s overall opening-up, and facilitate a new development pattern, Wang said.
Next, the MOC will work with the province and other departments to advance the implementation of the list and explore options for list management in the free trade zones and the country at large, Wang said.