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China to deepen pilot regional financial reform

Zhang Yue
Updated: Jul 24,2019 10:55 PM

China will intensify pilot regional financial reforms to enhance the role of finance in supporting reform, opening-up and economic development, the State Council’s executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang decided on July 24.

The Chinese government puts great emphasis on financial support for reform, opening-up and innovation at the regional level. General Secretary Xi Jinping underlined the need to deepen supply-side structural reform in the financial sector and provide well-targeted financial services to the industrial, market, regional development and green development systems in building a modernized economy. Premier Li Keqiang said that pilot reforms in selected regions should provide experience for a more comprehensive deepening of reform. The pilot financial reforms and innovations should test the waters for further financial reform.

The Wednesday meeting urged employing multiple tools in a coordinated way as required by macro policy to effectively bring down real interest rates, support the development of small and medium-sized banks, and lower financing costs for businesses, especially for micro, small and private firms. Local governments should fulfill their due responsibilities while averting financial risks.

It is important to set clear objectives and take a coordinated approach in promoting innovation in regional financial reforms. For the pilot reforms to better meet the needs for economic and social progress and coordinated regional development, priority will be given to financial support for major national strategies for regional development, agriculture, rural areas and farmers, technological innovation, as well as further financial opening-up. Practices proven replicable in the pilot reforms will be rolled out to places where conditions are ripe.

“The financial system is of a macro nature that affects almost all facets of the economy. Our first-order task is to ensure that the macro policy is well calibrated and implemented to continuously bring down real interest rates and financing costs for businesses, especially small and medium-sized firms,” Premier Li said.

The meeting stressed the need to establish a working mechanism for regional financial reforms that allow dynamic adjustments. Follow-up evaluation and third-party assessment of the reforms will be enhanced. Any pilot reform that delivers few concrete results, or seriously deviates from the reform objectives, must be promptly redressed or halted. Do-nothing pilot reforms will not be allowed.

Regions where pilot reforms have met their objectives and delivered notable outcomes will be encouraged to explore new reforms. Their replicable practices will be applied in wider areas at a faster pace, so that financial reform and opening-up and innovation can better boost development, improve people’s lives, and avert risks.

“Regional financial reforms and innovations need to follow macro policy and serve the larger interests. Local governments must play a part and fulfill their due responsibilities in supporting the growth of small and medium-sized companies and coordinating the macro policy with the needs of regional development,” Premier Li said.