SCIO press conference on the development of Hengqin and Qianhai

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China Daily:

Promoting financial connectivity is an important part of achieving regulation compatibility and institutional connectivity in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The financial industry is also the focus of the development of Hengqin and Qianhai. Could you introduce what efforts the People's Bank of China (PBOC) and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) have taken to support the development of the two regions? What effective measures have been rolled out this time? Thank you.

Pan Gongsheng:

Thanks for your questions. The PBOC and SAFE pay much attention to the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Following the requirements of the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area issued by the central authorities, we will promote financial opening-up and innovation in the Greater Bay Area, including Hengqin and Qianhai. 

In May 2020, the PBOC and other financial regulatory departments jointly unveiled the Financial Support Guideline for the Development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which focused on the key areas of financial reform and opening-up and deployed 26 financial opening-up and innovation initiatives in the Greater Bay Area, including Hengqin and Qianhai. Over the past year, the PBOC and the SAFE have continued to promote the implementation of various financial innovation measures in the principle of giving priority to people's livelihoods and finances while considering both long-term and immediate goals.

In terms of finance as related to people's livelihoods, a pilot campaign has been launched for Hong Kong and Macao residents to open mainland bank settlement accounts by remote means, and gradually expand the scope and scale of applicable organizations to facilitate the use of mobile electronic payments by Hong Kong and Macao residents in the mainland. We rolled out services benefiting people's livelihoods, such as direct payments of cross-border electronic bills and self-service queries of personal credit reports for Hong Kong and Macao residents. These financial reforms and further opening-up have made it more convenient for people to live in the Greater Bay Area.

In terms of market connectivity, we will continue to expand the channels for Investors from Hong Kong and Macao to invest in the mainland's capital and bond markets, and promote the implementation of cross-border Wealth Management Connect and southbound Bond Connect schemes, which will be launched in the next few days.

In terms of green financial cooperation, we have promoted local governments to issue green municipal bonds in Hong Kong and Macao and strengthen the cooperation between green bond evaluation and certification institutions in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area to jointly set up a green financial alliance in the Greater Bay Area.

In addition, we also launched pilot campaigns of free trade accounts, the cross-border transfer of credit assets, foreign debt facilitation, cross-border capital pools and cross-border investment policies for private equity funds in the Greater Bay Area, including Hengqin and Qianhai.

Next, the PBOC and the SAFE will implement the policy decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, and continue to give more financial support to the development of Hengqin and Qianhai.

First, in accordance with the two schemes issued by the central government and serving to central government's strategic position of Hengqin and Qianhai, the PBOC is coordinating with the financial regulatory departments of Hong Kong and Macao to formulate special financial policies to support reform and opening up in the two regions.

Second, according to Hengqin's strategic position of grounding itself to serve Macao in the integrated development of the two places, we designed open financial policies and plans for Hengqin, and explored building an electronic fence monitoring system. We will promote the greater opening up of financial services in Hengqin to Macao financial institutions to realize the full integration of financial services, boost the development of characteristic financial businesses in Macao, improve the width and depth of Macao's financial market, and enhance its financial radiating capacity to Portuguese-speaking countries.

Third, we will leverage the role of Qianhai to boost financial cooperation between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, so as to give full play to Hong Kong's role as an international financial center. We will focus on the free flow of cross-border capital, and strive for more open capital accounts to advance openness and connectivity of the financial services sector between the two cities. We will gradually establish a system of financial regulations that is in line with international practices, and improve our market-oriented, law-based and international financial environment, and usher in a more open financial sector.

Fourth, while opening our door wider to the world, we will also establish and improve a system for monitoring, preventing and defusing financial risks, in order to increase monitoring of abnormal cross-border capital flow. We will also strengthen Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao cooperation on supervision of anti-money laundering, counter-terrorist financing and anti-tax evasion activities, and tighten Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao cooperation on financial supervision, so as to ensure a more efficient fight against cross-border money laundering and illegal financial activities. Thank you. 

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