|May 24,2018-- China will increase investment in education in poverty-stricken areas and on weak links in the sector, take measures to boost its dairy industry, and give priority to developing service trade, according to a State Council statement.
The central government will add 13 billion yuan (about 2 billion U.S. dollars) of funding to support compulsory and vocational education in central and western regions, poverty-stricken and rural areas, according to the statement released after a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang Wednesday.
The country will strengthen finance, insurance and land support for the dairy industry.
The State Council requires 17 regions, including Beijing, to deepen the pilot program from July 1 this year to June 30, 2020 to promote innovative development of service trade. The program was first rolled out by the State Council in 2016.
A series of opening-up measures will be piloted in the above places covering telecommunications, tourism, engineering consulting, finance and legal services. Access mechanisms for trade in services on cross-border delivery and overseas consumption will be explored and refined.
Restrictions will be gradually lifted or eased, and customs clearance and visa arrangements will be streamlined for freer flow of goods and people.
In this year's Government Work Report, the premier said that mechanisms for developing trade in services will be reformed.
"Developing services trade is instrumental in transforming China's development model and achieving high-quality development. The services sector is still an area of weakness in our country's overall development," Li said.
"With things going well, we should lose no time in applying the experience gained from the pilot program in wider areas. This will help advance our opening-up and enhance China's global competitiveness," he said.
Statistics from the Ministry of Commerce show that China's trade in services totaled 4.7 trillion yuan in 2017, up by 6.8 percent year-on-year. Exports of services gained 10.6 percent and hit 1.54 trillion yuan, while imports rose 5.1 percent to 3.16 trillion yuan.
Premier Li stressed the importance of getting the priorities right. "Our tourism sector is falling woefully short at the moment. Efforts are needed to make the services at destinations and payment methods more overseas tourist-friendly. The possibility of two-way opening up in emerging services should also be fully explored."
According to a decision at the meeting, services trade in such areas as R&D and design, inspection and testing, international settlement and exhibition will be expanded. Tax exemption policies will made available for service exports, and eligible exporters can enjoy zero tax rates. Exports of emerging services that are guided by Internet Plus will be encouraged.
Premier Li stressed the need for closer inter-agency coordination and thorough delivery of all planned measures to improve the business environment and make trade in services a new highlight in China's opening and development.