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FTZ to be set up for service industry, innovation

China Daily Updated: 2020-09-09

Beijing is set to create a pilot free trade zone focusing on technological innovation, the service industry and the digital economy, a senior official announced at a forum on opening-up and the development of trade in services on Saturday.

To this end, the city will put an emphasis on digital trade and technological innovation, and accelerate the transformation of trade in services, Beijing Mayor Chen Jining said.

Beijing will also advance the construction of an experimental zone for digital trade and a big data exchange house, and promote the healthy flow of data, he said.

More than half of Beijing's GDP in 2019 was from its digital economy, according to official statistics.

Revolving around innovation, the city government plans to launch a series of policies to attract resources from home and abroad, support small and medium-sized businesses to digitalize their operations and provide more high-quality scenarios for technological applications, the mayor said.

The government will capitalize on the latest technologies including blockchain, artificial intelligence and big data to continuously improve the efficiency and quality of administrative services in a bid to create a friendly environment in line with common international rules, he said.

In particular, Chen noted Beijing will formulate regulations on intellectual property protection and promotion, and start the exploration of international trade and securitization of IP.

Since Beijing was designated the only pilot city for comprehensive opening-up in the service industry in 2015, the city has rolled out more than 400 innovative measures, achieved 122 breakthroughs in related policies and mechanisms and contributed six batches of innovative experiences that have been promoted across the country.

The innovative policies have spurred the growth and opening-up of Beijing's service industry.

Government data show the sector is on the rise in Beijing, with an average growth rate surpassing 15 percent. It contributed 83.5 percent of the city's GDP in 2019, up nearly 30 percentage points from the country's average 53.9 percent.

Service is increasingly important on the international trade landscape. The World Trade Organization forecast the proportion of global trade in services will increase to 25 percent in 2030 from 21 percent currently.

Facing the flourishing service industry worldwide, Beijing will build itself into a national demonstration zone for the service industry opening-up expansion and explore more innovative policies that could be leveraged across the country, Chen said.

Integrating its service sector into the global industrial chain, Beijing will improve the opening-up of the service industry and increase tax favors to promote startup businesses, investment, technology transfer and employment of professionals from other regions, he said.

The city will reduce restrictions on foreign investors' access to the service industry and encourage to develop more long-term mechanisms that are conducive to the opening-up and development of the service industry, he noted.

The forum is part of the ongoing China International Fair for Trade in Services in Beijing.