Financial meeting closed with crucial plans

(China Daily/Xinhua)
Updated: 2007-01-20 08:46

The State Council, China's cabinet, closed its third national financial work conference in Beijing Saturday with formulated plans crucial to the country's financial system over the coming few years.

The two-day meeting discussed China's current financial situation and proposed the overall requirements and major targets for the government's financial work.

China opened the much-anticipated National Financial Work Conference in Beijing on Friday to map out strategies for the financial sector's reform and development.

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 Meeting on financial reform path

The meeting is expected to set the tone for finding solutions to some crucial financial issues that have a fundamental impact on the Chinese economy, Xinhua News Agency reported.

China has previously held two similar meetings, in 1997 and 2002. Both produced substantial reforms.

At Friday's meeting, guidelines on reform of the Huijin Investment Co, the financial holding company of the central bank that manages State assets in financial institutions, is expected to be unveiled, according to media reports.

Huijin Investment

Huijin, launched in 2003, represents the State in its investments in major financial institutions. Its operations mechanism, and whether and how it will invest part of the country's surging foreign exchange reserve will be decided at the meeting, according to the China Business News.

The policy bank reform reportedly will also top the meeting's agenda.

China has three policy banks the China Development Bank, the Export-Import Bank of China and the Agricultural Development Bank of China.

Launched in 1994, the policy banks have played a vital role in supporting the country's large-scale infrastructure, mechanical and electrical equipment sector and State grain purchasing.

The State aims to improve the efficiency of these banks by putting them in a more competitive environment.

The banks will have an expanded business scope and operate more independently, but will be required to shoulder market risks, according to media reports.

Traditionally, they have had the financial backing of the State even if they incur losses.

The China Development Bank, which registered a non-performing loan ratio of 0.72 by the end of 2006, may be the first to be reformed into a commercial bank.

Caijing Magazine said it will establish a modern corporate governance structure.

Rural financial reform discussions are expected to produce more results at the current meeting, the media reported.

Reform plans for the Agricultural Bank of China, the last of the Big Four State commercial banks to be reformed, are expected to be mapped out at the meeting.

Reforms may include the write-off of bad loans, establishment of a share holding structure, strategic investments and listing.

The meeting reportedly may also push for the establishment of a multi-tier rural financial structure, in which community financial institutions can be more accessible to farmers.

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