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5 Jun, 2013

Chinese Premier Terms Services Vital To “Upgrades” Of Global Economies

UNCTAD News Release

Beijing, 3 June 2013 (UNCTAD News release) – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told a joint Leaders’ Summit of the Global Services Forum (GSF) and the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) on Wednesday that services sectors around the world represent the most important opportunities for growth and economic “upgrading” sought by developing countries.

“We should carry out reforms in the services sector and promote the development of the services industry, which can help create more jobs,” Mr. Li said in the keynote address at the GSF-CIFTIS Leaders’ Summit. “Services are a contributor to the recovery of the world economy and are the engine for industrial restructuring.” He went on to tell the Summit that “Developed countries should take the lead in opening the market and helping the developing countries to develop their own” markets.

The 28-29 May GSF was organized by UNCTAD in cooperation with the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and with the Beijing Municipality. It was held concurrently with CIFTIS, the 28 May -1 June services trade fair.

Also addressing the Leaders’ Summit were Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka; Josaia Uoreque Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji; Ali Mohamed Shein, President of Zanzibar, the semi-autonomous archipelago region of the United Republic of Tanzania; Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore; and Guo Jinlong, Secretary of the Communist Party of China Beijing Municipal Committee.

All emphasized their economies’ needs to develop stronger services sectors and cited the opportunities that services — spheres of economic activity that range from energy to telecommunications to such knowledge- and skills-based work as engineering and computer programming – offer for economic growth that can broadly raise living standards.

UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi presented to the summit a GSF – CIFTIS “Beijing Communiqué” which announces that the services sector “represents a new frontier for many developing countries” and emphasizes that “the opportunities created by the services economy are enormous” and that progress already achieved in services has “contributed to economic growth, innovation, knowledge creation and diffusion for all economies.”

The Communiqué also announces the establishment of a Global Services Forum Vision Council, which will serve as an informal and open framework for government and business leaders, as well as coalitions and associations of services industries and international organizations. The Council will contribute to raising awareness and enhancing understanding of the key role of services as a backbone of economies around the world. It also will provide guidance and insights into the identification of themes and ahead-of-the-curve issues for the Global Services Forum as new editions of the GSF are held in coming years.

It is expected that China will assume the role of first rotating chair of the Council from the government side; the other co-chair will come from the business sector. UNCTAD is a co-chair and will service the Vision Council. The Leaders Forum welcomed the establishment of the Services Vision Council of the GSF.

In addition, the Communiqué recommends that partnerships in the field of services – a recurring theme during the GSF – continue to be “established and fostered, since such collaboration and networking is at the core of success in all sectors and the exchange of experiences and effective policies and practices in promoting services is required.”

Mr. Li, the Chinese Premier, in extended remarks, told the summit that the global economy “is in the middle of four trends: industrialization, ‘informatization,’ new forms of urbanization, and agricultural modernization.” All depend for future success on the services sector, he said. Dependable economic progress in coming years will be rooted in the intellectual and skill-based components of services that are provided as technology rapidly advances, he explained.

“The new technological revolution, the transformation of production factors, has become faster and faster,” Mr. Li said. “As the role which services play in the international economy rises, so many countries want to build up and strengthen their own services.”