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Bank of China president urges local yuan clearing, settlement

Li Lihui, president and CEO of Bank of China, yesterday called for direct renminbi clearing and settlement in Taiwan, saying it would help enterprises avert exchange rate risk and save on costs.

He made the remarks during the opening of the bank's branch in Taipei.

He said that last year bilateral trade between Taiwan and China totaled some US$160 billion, and Taiwan's trade surplus to China was US$89.8 billion.

If renminbi clearing is made available in Taiwan, it would help enterprises avoid exchange rate risk and save costs, contributing positively to their businesses, he said.

Li said from January to May, Bank of China's total cross-border renminbi clearing value was 830 billion, the largest in the market.

“Bank of China is the major renminbi clearing bank in Hong Kong, Macau and Malaysia,” he said. “It is my hope Bank of China's Taipei branch would also play a major role in renminbi clearing.”

According to Li, putting a clearing mechanism in place would enable local banks to conduct renminbi exchange and provide renminbi-based lending and depositing operations, contributing positively to enterprises' business and sales.

He said over the last three years, Bank of China has provided total loans of over 160 billion renminbi, also known as the yuan, to Taiwan businesses. Yesterday, he promised the bank will come up with another 200 billion yuan over the next three years to finance these companies.

“Bank of China is the first Chinese bank with a Taiwan branch,” he said. “With deepening cross-strait ties, Bank of China has forged partnership ties with several Taiwan banks including Bank of Taiwan, First Bank and Mega Bank.”

He also said the firm has clinched business deals with the Taiwan subsidiaries or branches of several foreign banks.

The opening ceremony saw the attendance of various political and business magnates including P. K. Chiang, chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation; Wu Po-hsiung, chairman emeritus of the Kuomintang; Chang Hsiu-lien, chairman of Bank of Taiwan, and Chiu Cheng-hsiung, chairman of SinoPac Bank.

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