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Empowering Digital Trade for High-Quality Development and Global Connectivity | Insights

By YUTING CHEN|May 20,2023

Chongqing - "Digital trade is one of the most important aspects of future globalization," said Su Qingyi, Deputy Director of the Department of International Trade at the Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, during an exclusive interview with iChongqing and Bridging News at the Fifth Western China International Fair for Investment and Trade (WCIFIT) on May 19.

Su attended the High-Quality Development of Free Trade Pilot Zones Forum, which primarily focused on the dual empowerment of digitalization and free trade in global digital transformation. 

The forum highlighted how digital transformation would stimulate new drivers of development in free trade zones, while high-level openness in these zones will drive digital innovation and promote high-quality economic development. 

Su Qingyi, Deputy Director of the Department of International Trade at the Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. (Photo/Su Qingyi)

Information technology industry supporting digital trade

"To promote the high-quality development of free trade zones in digital trade, strengthening infrastructure construction, promoting goods trade, cross-border e-commerce, digital services trade, and data cooperation are key measures," said Su.

Infrastructure construction is the foundation for developing the digital economy and digital trade, and Chongqing's information technology industry is one of the important infrastructures supporting digital trade.

In recent years, Chongqing's information technology industry has experienced rapid growth, with a number of high-quality technology companies and research institutions providing strong computing power support and advanced algorithm technologies.

"As one of China's important computing power hubs, Chongqing plays a crucial role in promoting the development of the digital economy," Su said.

For example, collaborating with Huawei and introducing Huawei's advanced technologies and solutions, the Huawei Chongqing Cloud Computing Innovation Center was established. 

Chongqing enhanced its influence in the digital economy by attracting renowned companies such as Tencent and Alibaba to set up research and data centers. This has made the city a popular destination for domestic and international digital economy enterprises and innovative projects.

Factors to consider for the development of free trade zones 

"The development of free trade zones needs careful consideration of various factors," Su said.

As the first cross-provincial free trade zone cooperation platform in China, Su thinks the coordinated development of the Sichuan-Chongqing Pilot Free Trade Zone for the cooperative opening demonstration zone is of great importance, as it can promote complementary achievements and mutual learning. 

In terms of external cooperation, deepening ties with ASEAN countries, the American and European markets, and strengthening economic and trade cooperation with Belt and Road countries through the China Railway Express should be further enhanced.

"Chongqing's China Railway Express has its advantages in the Belt and Road transportation process and can play a role in cross-border e-commerce," Su said. This can be improved by attracting business investments and government cooperation and promoting digital infrastructure construction in Belt and Road countries.

As one of the largest global free trade agreements that China has participated in, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) consolidates its economic and trade relations with neighboring countries.

Su added that although the rules of RCEP in digital trade still need further development, China can leverage this opportunity to promote the development of the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) for digital economy cooperation.

China's participation in the DEPA is crucial to deepening its involvement in and shaping global digital trade rules. DEPA aims to promote digital trade and digital economy cooperation, while China's participation will play an important role in the development of the free trade area and promote cross-border cooperation in the digital economy.


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