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China Promotes Digital Trade and Cooperation

China will introduce several policy measures, including promoting the institutional opening-up of the digital field, to develop digital trade and deepen international cooperation in this area. The government will benchmark international high-level economic and trade rules and advance the institutional opening-up of the digital field.

In order to build more demonstration zones, China will guide local governments to carry out pilot trials based on opening-up platforms such as the pilot free trade zones to stimulate innovative activities of trade in services. Addressing a digital trade development-themed forum during the 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services being held in Beijing, China will participate in the formulation of related international rules and safeguard the multilateral trading system.

In the next step, the government will deploy more resources to support the growth of national-level export bases for digital service to create favourable conditions to boost digital trade, he said. The Ministry of Commerce released a report on China’s digital trade development at the forum, noting the country’s digital trade makes up an increasingly larger part of its foreign trade.

The ministry data showed that during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), China’s digital trade volume soared from $200 billion in 2015 to $294.76 billion in 2020, an increase of 47.4%, and its share in trade in services surged from 30.6% to 44.5% during this period.

COVID-19 has spurred more consumers to shop online, and this meant more businesses are transacting online and across borders. Increased trades stimulated by initiatives will continue to drive more cross-border transactions and the need for low-cost, fast, transparent digital payment options.

An academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering said that with computing power improvement and the acceleration of transmission, digital trade has become a new form of China’s foreign trade. Digital trade takes data as the production factor and digital delivery as the main method. An estimate based on statistics showed China’s digitally-delivered service trade hit $294.76 billion in market size last year, an increase of 8.4% year-on-year, accounting for 44.5% of its total service trade.

The digital economy has become an increasingly important driving force of China’s high-quality economic growth. China’s total market size of the digital economy ranked second worldwide last year, just behind the United States. China Academy of Information and Communications Technology released a white paper that showed the market size of China’s digital economy surged 9.6% year-on-year in 2020.

China will establish and improve relevant laws and regulations for the right classification of data resources, protection of cross-border transmission, privacy and public safety during China’s 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).

In addition to participating in the formulation of international rules and technical standards such as data security, currency and tax, the government will actively uphold international exchanges and cooperation in cyberspace in the coming years.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, China’s digital economy has taken centre stage and opened up new possibilities for international cooperation as it is becoming ubiquitous in modern life. China saw the display of a wide range of cutting-edge technologies and applications, including a cloud-computing processor the size of a business card, an AI machine that can grade homework and tests, and smart home technologies that allow users to voice-control heaters and floor-cleaning robots through a mobile app.

In recent years, China has been actively promoting digital industrialisation and industrial digitisation and has been pushing forward the deep integration of digital technologies with economic and social development. Digitisation, networking and intelligence should provide more momentum for economic and social development, thus creating a new chapter for digital economic cooperation.

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