Xi urges work on regional bank to speed up

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, February 11, 2015
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President Xi Jinping called on Tuesday for the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to be sped up and for "concrete investment plans" under China's $40 billion Silk Road Fund.

At a central government financial meeting, Xi said the bank's main mission will be to provide financial support for infrastructure projects in Asia and for those along the landbased and maritime Silk Road economic belts.

He said the bank will act as a key supplement to fundraising channels for infrastructure projects, adding that it should be set up as soon as possible.

Xi said the Silk Road Fund should be managed under market-driven principles, and he also called for "concrete" investment projects.

The bank was created in October when 21 Asian countries agreed to join as founding members. In November, Xi announced the creation of the Silk Road Fund, part of a national strategy to revive the centuries-old trading route connecting Asia and Europe.

At Tuesday's meeting, Xi also said China should speed up establishing a strategic oil reserve system and energy pricing reform, closely following global market changes.

China increased crude imports rapidly for strategic reserves last year when the global crude price started to plunge.

The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s tope conomic planner, said recently that the country will set a minimum standard for commercial crude reserves at processing companies. This will require them to have crude reserves equivalent to at least 15 days' refining capacity.

But Liao Na, vice-president of ICIS C1, a Shanghai energy consultancy, said companies might face financial difficulties in meeting such standards, as banks have become stricter in approving loans to companies in the commodities sector when prices are falling.

Xi also said at the meeting that transferring noncapital functions out of Beijing and pushing forward regional integration between Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province is a "huge systematic project".

He said in February last year that the key functions of Beijing are related to its strategic position as a national political center, cultural center, international exchange center, and technology and innovation center.

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