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China hastens financial opening-up

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The People's Bank of China (PBC), the country's central bank, and finance regulation departments are working together to implement the financial opening-up policies that Chinese President Xi Jinping announced at the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in South China's Hainan Province, a PBC official said on Wednesday at the event.

During one forum session, PBC Governor Yi Gang announced six policies that China will implement in the coming months.

One of those policies will be eliminating restrictions on foreign shareholders' stake in banking and asset management joint ventures (JVs) with Chinese companies.

Another policy will develop a mechanism for improved stock connects between the Chinese mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, with daily quotas under the connect scheme set to expand by four times starting May this year.

Yi said he expects most of the measures to be implemented by June 30.

He also listed several other measures that China will implement by the end of the year, including the introduction of foreign capital in areas like the trust and automobile sectors, the expansion of the business scope of foreign banks and the elimination of restrictions on securities JVs.

"The central government's decision to accelerate the pace of opening-up is a sign to the international community that China continues to open up," Xi Junyang, a finance professor at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

He said that this would help promote the yuan's internationalization and introduce overseas resources.

"Since the domestic financial sector has matured, it can cope with unexpected changes in external markets. So, the conditions to open up have ripened," he said. 

Greater opportunities

"Australian insurance companies and banks look forward to China's further opening-up," Craig Meller, CEO of AMP Capital, said at the session. He said that he thinks the opening-up policies will bring more opportunities in the Chinese market.

"Our banking sector has made great improvements in reforms, governance and risk management in recent years. Here is an opportunity for us to open the door wider," Li Jiange, chairman of the Board of Trustees of Sun Yedang Foundation, said at the same session.

"Chinese banks can compete with foreign banks after they enter the Chinese market," he added.

"I'm pleased to announce that through joint efforts with the UK, preparations for the Shanghai-London Stock Connect are going well… We will open the connect scheme within the year," Yi said.

He added that authorities are also pushing ahead with the implementation of measures for the opening-up of the finance and services sector.

No to devaluation

Despite trade tensions with the US, China will not devalue its currency, Yi said.

"Our monetary policy focuses on domestic macro-economic situations and serves the real economy. China's policy on lowering tariffs will not let the yuan depreciate," he said at the conference.

At the end of the value-added chain, China's trade surplus represents that of East Asia as a whole to the US, he noted, adding "we should take a multilateral view instead of the US' unilateral view on the trade imbalance between China and the US."

Xi Junyang said that the US has been blaming China for its insufficient opening-up, but China's active opening-up measures in the financial sector can help remove this misunderstanding and give China more access to other economies.



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