Zamir Ahmed Awan: Beijing trade fair good news for Pakistan

September 10 , 2020

By Zamir Ahmed Awan, a senior fellow with Center for China and Globalization(CCG)

Pakistan will benefit from the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services, which opened in Beijing on Friday. Pakistani entrepreneurs were waiting since long for this opportunity, as the COVID-19 has suspended routine economic activities, harming their businesses.

Pakistan and China enjoy ideal friendship, and in recent years, the economic relations have seen a growing bond. The trade fair will boost the existing trade and enhance import as well as export between the two countries. It will provide an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs of both nations to strike mutually beneficial deals and promote not only the traditional friendship but also economic ties.

Pakistan is seeking closer cooperation with China in the services sector. Although Pakistan lacks behind in the sector, the potential is huge. It is a niche area and needs foreign partners to boost the sector. China is well advanced in the services sector and has gained enough experience. Chinese entrepreneurs are well experienced, and Pakistani counterparts might be the right choice for them.

With the launch of CPEC, the importance of the services sector has been realized by the government of Pakistan and the leading entrepreneurs of Pakistan. Especially the young entrepreneurs find this sector more attractive. Generally speaking, the investment required in the services sector is not very high, and medium entrepreneurs also can afford to be involved in the sector, while the return is relatively high as compared to the investment of capital.

It is expected that the Chinese and Pakistani enterprenuers will join hands, not only to earn profits but also to strengthen the existing traditional friendship between the two countries.

In the last several months, due to CODIVID-19, the economic activities have either been suspended or slowed down. This fair is a positive step in the restoration of economic activities. China took the lead in reviving the routine life, and providing such a robust platform to entrepreneurs from all over the world will definitely add value to the global economy.

Around 18,000 enterprises and institutions from 148 countries and regions and about 100,000 people are expected to take part in the fair. International entrepreneurs, exhibitors, and merchants are facilitated to mainly attend online exhibitions, and all types of entities in China will primarily participate in offline physical shows. With the theme “Global Services, Shared Prosperity,” the six-day fair has one vast exhibition area and eight particular exhibition areas.

The fair comprises the Global Trade in Services Summit, four summit forums, and more than 100 industry seminars and forums. It includes service trade of culture, tourism, finance, sports, robotics, education, and 5G.

To promote and enhance the mutual understanding, the fair will issue more than 30 industry development reports, indexes, and rankings, including action guidelines for urban tourism recovery amid COVID-19. This will lead to opening more avenues of collaboration and may create opportunities for many international participants.

While the world is battling against the pandemic and suffering considerable losses in the form of human lives as well as economic loss, the fair shows China’s confidence and willpower to promote its opening-up policy steadfastly and sends constructive signals to uphold economic globalization and strengthen international cooperation. Definitely, China is a responsible state and global power. It understands its global responsibilities. The fair is to contribute toward the global economy.

China has a significant contribution to the growth of worldwide trade in services. According to official statistics, China’s services exports have developed at an average annual rate of 9 percent in the past 15 years, 2.9 percentage points higher than the global average. In the same period, China’s services imports worthed $4.5 trillion, contributing 12.9 percent to the growth of international services imports.

China was the first country to become the victim of the pandemic, but with its comprehensive measures, it became the first country in the world to defeat the coronavirus. China’s actual containment of the epidemic and the stable recovery of its economy have enabled to organize such a mega event.

As per state policy, China has been deepening reforms and opening-up in the service sector, refining the system and mechanism for trade in services and raising the level of development, with pilot programs for advanced development of the service trade.