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Intl. Trade in Services Fair: President Xi opens first in-person trade event since COVID-19 outbreak

Here in Beijing, a major trade fair has kicked off and unlike the online events we’ve been used to in pandemic times, this one is in-person. President Xi Jinping gave the opening address, saying he hopes the event could help boost international trade, as the world economy suffers a major blow from the pandemic. Wu Guoxiu has our top story.

President Xi Jinping proposes to jointly build a world services economy that’s open, inclusive, innovative and mutually beneficial.

XI JINPING Chinese President “China will remain steadfast in opening up wider to the world. We will continue to work on a negative list system for managing cross-border services trade. We will develop open platforms for the pilot program of innovative development of the services sector. We will further ease market access for the services sector, and will take greater initiative to increase imports of quality services.”

President Xi also announced China’s measures to promote higher-quality opening up, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19.

XI JINPING Chinese President “We will support the Beijing municipality in developing a national integrated demonstration zone for greater openness in the services sector. It will enable Beijing to take bigger, bolder steps as a trailblazer and gain more experience that would be replicable and scalable. We will also support Beijing in setting up a pilot free trade zone characterizing scientific and technological innovation, opening-up of the services sector, and digital economy.”

Leaders addressed the summit remotely. The message is clear: support economic globalization and international cooperation.

ALBERTO FERNANDEZ President of Argentina “We hope to continue to deepen relations with China. For post-COVID-19 recovery and development, we may consider integrating our information system and share best practices. This platform of cooperation can help boost development.”

MUKHISA KITUYI Secretary-General, UN Conference on Trade and Development “International cooperation of trade and services should be a key element of policy agenda. We hope we can work together, leaning on the common lessons which China can share.”

But still, overcoming the coronavirus pandemic is key and world leaders renewed calls for global efforts to deal with it.

TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS Director-General, World Health Organization “Innovation is of most value when it matters to equalities, not widens them. This pandemic will end. The question is whether we’ll learn the lessons it’s teaching us. Together, we must build a healthier, safer, fairer world for everyone, everywhere.”

China’s International Fair for Trade in Services is the world’s first of its kind organized at the national level. Nearly 18-thousand organizations, embassies, associations and companies from nearly 150 countries and regions are participating. There will be online and offline events, featuring public health, tourism, winter sports and 5G communications.

WU GUOXIU Beijing “As a taster of what’s to come, this summit will be followed by nearly 200 forums and negotiations over the next five days, together with a vast exhibition area. The message from organizers is clear: Join hands for global economic recovery, and don’t shut doors — especially against our common enemy, the coronavirus. Wu Guoxiu, CGTN, Beijing.”

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