Hainan access exceeds commitment to WTO

Finance | Agencies and Eurus Yiu 27 Jul 2021

China's commerce ministry has released a negative list for cross-border trade in services in its southern island province of Hainan, the first negative list for services trade in the country.

The list outlines 70 special management measures in 11 categories for overseas services providers, according to the Ministry of Commerce, which said that domestic and foreign service providers will enjoy equal access to sectors beyond the list in Hainan Free Trade Port with greater openness, transparency and predictability.

The list relaxes access restrictions, especially in the fields of professional services, transportation, and finance. Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce said at a press conference that the degree of openness not only exceeds commitments China has made with the World Trade Organization, but is also higher than the other major free trade agreements in related fields that are currently in force.

Wang stated that the service industry accounted for more than 60 percent of Hainan's economy, and that the list was made in accordance with Hainan's competitive edge and to promote the opening up and development of the region's service industry.

Wang added that the negative list is an important measure taken by China to actively promote a high-level market opening, and its implementation can be seen as a trial and stress test for a larger scale opening expansion in the future. The list comes into effect August 26.

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