China opens service sector, foreign enterprises can sell online
China has actively promoted the opening up of the service sector to the outside world since China joined the WTO. China has opened more than 100 service industries out of the 160 service industries in accordance with the classification of the WTO, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
This figure is on par with developed countries and far higher than the average level of developing countries. China’s pace of further opening up has never stopped and China has further expanded the opening up of the tourism industry and retail industry in August, according to the ministry.
Pilot programs were launched to allow Chinese-foreign joint venture travel agencies to operate overseas tours. Foreign-invested travel agencies are not allowed to engage in outbound tourism services for Chinese citizens. This is a national treatment limitation listed in the table of specific commitments when China joined the WTO.
Currently, the National Tourism Administration and the Ministry of Commerce jointly issued the “Interim Monitoring Measures of Pilot Chinese-foreign Joint Venture Travel Agencies to Operate Outbound Tourism” to allow Chinese-foreign joint venture travel agencies to operate outbound tourism businesses. This is a service trade measure that China opened up on its own initiative.
The total number of foreign-invested ventures in the tourism industry of China reached 665 by August 2010, involving nearly 1.5 billion U.S. dollars of actual foreign investments. This will help these enterprises to further expand their business.
Foreign-invested manufacturing enterprises and commercial enterprises are able to engage in online sales. A notice on relevant issues of the approval and management of Chinese-foreign joint ventures to sell through the Internet and vending machines recently released by the Ministry of Commerce said that foreign-invested manufacturing enterprises and commercial enterprises are allowed to directly engage in online sales.
The notice identified the approval matters of foreign-invested enterprises that want to engage in online sale. It also provided convenience for foreign-invested retail enterprises to launch online sales business and standardized the online sales business.
Yao Jian, spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce, said that as China continues to expand the opening up of the service sector and optimize the industrial structure of foreign investments, China has focused on attracting foreign investment into the service industry.
A total of nearly 8,500 foreign-invested enterprises were established in China’s service industry from January to August 2010, an increase of more than 22 percent compared with the previous year, involving a total of more than 29.7 billion U.S. dollars of actual foreign investments, an increase of nearly 37 percent compared with the previous year and accounting for nearly 51 percent and more than 45 percent of the national total, respectively.