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CIFTIS, New Platform for Development of Global Trade in Services

To conform to the new trend of the world and China’s economic development, and to better promote the exchanges and cooperation of domestic and overseas trade in services, upon the approval by the State Council, the Ministry of Commerce of PRC and the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality have been jointly sponsoring the China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) since 2012.

CIFTIS is the first comprehensive trading platform in the world specially set up for trade in services so far. Through four sessions of cultivation and development, CIFTIS has shown thriving vitality and huge cooperative business opportunities, and has become a significant platform promoting the development of the global trade in services.  

CIFTIS promotes the exchanges and cooperation with China. At CIFTIS, the attendees can engage with China’s high-end political and business resources in a centralized way, carry out in-depth exchanges with national industry associations of China, and negotiate on cooperation with the leading enterprises of China based on a close distance. There were national leaders at the four sessions of CIFTIS. Wen Jiabao, then Premier of the State Council, attended the first CIFTIS and gave an important speech. At the second CIFTIS, Premier Li Keqiang attended the Beijing Summit and gave a keynote speech. Wang Yang, Vice Premier of the State Council attended the third and fourth CIFTIS. 31 provinces/regions/municipalities in Chinese Mainland and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps organized delegations to attend the fair. Over 30 national industry associations like the China Association for Science and Technology and the China Express Association undertook corresponding special events regarding CIFTIS, fully showing the opportunities and prospect of China's service market. A large number of domestically famous enterprises such as Jingdong, Tencent, Bank of China, CASIC, Tongrentang and Chinasoft International attended the CIFTIS to negotiate.

CIFTIS promotes international exchanges and cooperation. WTO, UNCTAD and OECD have become permanent supporting organizations of CIFTIS. At each CIFTIS, one of them worked with the organizing committee to jointly hold a summit, fully expressing China’s confidence and determination in expanding the opening of the service industry and the common aspiration of all countries to jointly develop the trade in services. At the fourth CIFTIS, international cooperation organizations were established for the first time. As international cooperation organizations, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the International Trade Center, the World Trade Point Federation and the World Trade Centers Association substantially undertake the organization of the international forum. Moreover, CIFTIS also attracted 88 overseas business associations including the Europe International Vision Union, the Union of International Fairs(UFI), the National Association of Software and Services Companies(NASSCOM), etc. to attend the fair. In addition, CIFTIS made arrangements for the country-specific exhibition areas and country-specific theme activities. The four sessions attracted 47 overseas countries and regions in total to attend the fair. 39 countries or regions such as Brazil and Czech Republic held 66 exhibition and display activities; 23 countries including Germany, India, etc. as well as the African exhibition delegation and 5 Caribbean countries held 54 special recommendation activities. As CIFTIS’s first guest country of honor, the UK held exhibition and theme day activities, fully shared the potential and opportunities of integrating with the Chinese market, and reached a number of cooperation projects with Chinese enterprises.

The fourth CIFTIS concluded on June 1, 2016 focused on six fields such as science & technology and health & medical care, held 122 forum meetings and negotiations on trading, with the total exhibition area of 50,000 square meters, and attracted 171,000 person-times of foreign merchants from 126 countries and regions to attend the fair. 3,740 enterprises registered for and attended the fair; 34 overseas countries and regions and 60 overseas business associations organized delegations to attend the fair. CIFTIS achieved 331 intention contract projects, with the amount of intention contracts up to USD 101.08 billion.

From nonexistence to existence, from small to big, CIFTIS has gradually developed into a wind vane for the development of the global trade in services and a new engine for China’s economic take-off and a new stage for international cooperation, and will inject new kinetic energy for the supply-side structural reforms of the service industry. In the future, it will also continue to inject surging impetus for the development of the trade in services, and guide the development of the trade in services into a new era.