said that essential and infrastructural services such as health, education, energy and water play a key role in supporting progress towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals
. Services are also a major source of employment creation which is still the most reliable route out of poverty, he said. These points had also been brought out at the UNCTAD Global Services Forum
held in conjunction with UNCTAD XIII in Doha, Qatar last month.
In the case of China, he said, a renewed focus on the services sector is likely to play an important part in a new development strategy, which places greater emphasis on expanding the domestic market as a principal source of economic growth. With its large well-educated labour force, China has significant potential in the area of services and the global trade in services, he added.
Dr. Supachai noted that UNCTAD had been a strong supporter of the China Trade in Services Congress, the forerunner of the present China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTS) and would be proud to support this new upgraded format.
The China Trade in Services Congress in 2009 generated 320 million USD in transactions and 950 million USD in 2010. The global total volume of trade in services in 2010 was estimated to be approximately 7.16 trillion USD. The value added volume of Chinese service industry in 2010 was 2.6 trillion USD. China's services imports in 2010 was 192.2 billion USD, the third highest in the world.
Prior to the opening ceremony, H.E. Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister of China, toured the main exhibition area, met with visiting foreign dignitaries and received reports from China's ministerial and municipal leaders on activities in the services sectors.
Speeches were also delivered at the Summit Forum segment of the CIFTS later the same morning by, among others, H.E. Chen Deming, Minister of Commerce of China; H.E. Craig Emerson, Australian Minister for Trade and Competitiveness; H.E. Luis Almagro, Foreign Minister of Uruguay; H.E. Lim Hng Kiang, Singaporean Minister of Trade and Industry; Lord Green, UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment; Mr. Pascal Lamy, Director General of the WTO; and Mr. Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electrics.
The China International Fair for Trade in Services at the China National Convention Center in Beijing will run until 1 June 2012.