Business / Economy

Cautious approach can eliminate currency risks

By Jiang Xueqing (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-23 08:26

A leading finance expert has warned China about the risks of turning the yuan into a global currency while pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative.

Song Min, a respected finance professor and director of the Center for China Financial Research at the University of Hong Kong, told China Daily at the week-end of the pitfalls associated with the policy.

"It is fine to take the Belt and Road Initiative as a grand, long-term strategy, but we should be cautious and guard against impetuosity," Song said on the sidelines of China Wealth Forum in Qingdao, Shandong province.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives were proposed by President Xi Jinping during a visit to Kazakhstan in 2013.

Song recommended a cautious approach for the globalization of yuan. "China should find out which countries are worth investing in, rather than promoting the globalization of yuan for the sake of it," he said.

Song pointed out that the Belt and Road Initiative was very complex, involving politics, economics, history, culture and religion. He said China cannot simply copy its domestic policy when doing business in more than 60 other countries.

"Infrastructure construction is one of China's strengths, but the experience it acquired in this field is based on its national system." Song said. "In China, land is State-owned, local governments are very powerful, and the financial system is controlled by the State.

"Under this model, we achieved huge success in building infrastructure, such as high-speed railways. But it doesn't mean this model will also succeed in other countries."

Song called for "multi-country cooperation" to implement the initiative, and extensive dialogue with the countries along the Belt and Road Initiative routes.

"We should adopt the model of multi-country cooperation and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is a good example," Song said.

"With other countries joining the Belt and Road Initiative, the process of investment will slow down because the relevant countries will not start a project unless they reach a consensus.

"Adopting this kind of diversified model will prevent us from making rash investment decisions for political reasons," he added.

Song also advised the government to open the Silk Road Fund to other countries and private companies.

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