China Eximbank Chairman Hu Xiaolian was invited to attend and address the Thematic Forum on Trade Connectivity of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on April 25th.
Chairman Hu pointed out that financial connectivity played a vital role in Belt and Road cooperation, served as lubricant and booster for trade connectivity and it was stronger financial support that would enhance B&R trade cooperation. To this end, Chairman Hu put forward four suggestions.
The first is to adapt to the new trend of global trade and industrial chain evolution, tapping into the potentials of trade growth. In supporting complementary trade cooperation, financial institutions should not only conduct traditional businesses such as trade finance, import-export credit and insurance, but also launch innovative financial services to accommodate new trade patterns, e.g. cross-border e-commerce. In supporting industrial chain cooperation, we should expand services and cover the areas of greenfield investment, the building of customs bonded areas in exports and imports and industrial zones. It’s important for financial institutions to keep up with the evolution of industrial chains, be prepared in institutional building, products, service channels and approaches, and in the meantime take full advantage of modern technologies such as the internet and big data, so as to build greater capacity in promoting trade.
Second, it is imperative to support infrastructure development and trade corridors. One of the basic conditions for trade connectivity is infrastructure, with transportation of uttermost concern. The construction of roads, railways, ports, airports along with the development of ships and shipping industry has played a significant role in promoting trade and the building of land, maritime and aerial silk roads. China Eximbank has financed a number of projects in the field of infrastructure connectivity, whereas trade connectivity calls for further developments of land, sea and air corridors. Aiming at that goal, it is necessary to mobilize all sources of funds and increase supply to fill the gap of financing. An overall consideration of long-term and short-term benefits, economic and environmental outputs as well as social effects needs to be taken into account, so as to ensure the sound operations of infrastructure and the sustainability of financing.
The third is to further develop inclusive finance and attach importance to the role of SMEs in trade connectivity. Tailor-made financial products should be provided to meet the financing needs of SMEs. In recent years, Chinese financial institutions, including China Eximbank, have fervently strengthened inclusive financial services, and have achieved positive results in reducing the financing costs of small and micro businesses, improving service efficiency and credit availability.
The fourth is to encourage closer inter-bank partnerships and to forge a global network of trade finance. Cooperation among financial institutions is indispensable in international trade. Various institutions such as export credit agencies, commercial banks and international financial institutions should enhance cooperation and give full play to their strengths and complementary advantages. In support of the Belt and Road Initiative, China Eximbank has carried out extensive cooperation with financial peers both at home and abroad, in ways of correspondent banking business, syndicated loans, co-financing, parallel financing, and third-market cooperation.
The Thematic Forum on Trade Connectivity was the largest thematic forum of this year’s Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, attracting more than 600 participants. It was hosted by the Ministry of Commerce of China, co-organized by the General Administration of Customs of China, the State Taxation Administration, China Eximbank, and the China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation, and undertaken by the China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchange of the Ministry of Commerce and China Eximbank.