CHINA's Vice Commerce Minister Sheng Qiupin says the nation is facing growing challenges in international services trade as Covid outbreaks curb mobility and weaken external demand.
Speaking at a press conference, the minister said local Covid outbreaks have restricted cross-border movement, hurting travel, construction and exhibitions, according to Reuters.
"Some services trade enterprises are facing challenges such as insufficient orders and rising costs, and their business expectations are unstable," Mr Sheng said ahead of the upcoming China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), which takes place in Beijing from August 31 to September 5.
"In particular, small and medium-sized enterprises, which have relatively weak abilities to ward off risks, are facing greater pressure to survive."
Amid a sluggish global economic recovery, he said China's services faces risks of declining external demand.
The world's second-biggest economy narrowly avoided contraction in the June quarter as widespread Covid lockdowns and a property crisis took a heavy toll on consumer and business confidence. The People's Bank of China on Monday cut its benchmark lending rates to revive the fragile recovery.
China will accelerate its pace of re-opening and promote a negative list for cross-border trade in services, Mr Sheng said.
According to data by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, the country's services trade deficit reached US$7.9 billion in June, the biggest since December 2021.
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