Top-level conference on financial reform path

(China Daily)
Updated: 2007-01-19 08:32

China's top-level conference for the development of the financial sector, to be held today and tomorrow in Beijing, will chart the guidelines for the next stage reforms.

Far-reaching decisions could be made at or shortly after the Central Financial Work Conference on some lingering issues that hold the key not only to the fate of the financial sector, but also to the nation's overall development prospects.

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The previous two meetings were held in 1997 and 2002, each generating substantial reforming steps.

The remodeling of management mechanism for State interests in financial institutions is expected to be the issue that attract most attention at the 2007 conference because of profound implications from a remodeling. But it is also the most difficult one on which a final decision is made at the conference.

Two major proposals were floated on this. The first one, which appeared to be the front-runner at the moment, is to invest the Central Huijin Investment Ltd Co, a financial holding company under the central bank, with a more independent role in administrating State assets in financial institutions.

Huijin, created in 2003, holds controlling stakes at two major State banks, a 50 per cent share at the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and shares in many other financial institutions.

The other proposal is to establish a new government agency based on the Ministry of Finance's Financial Department, which is currently also a major supervisor for State-owned financial institutions' financial affairs.

Huijin was also tipped as the institution to be responsible for the management of the nation's hefty foreign exchange reserves, which is expected to be another key topic at the conference.

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