Construction bank adds Toronto site
China Construction Bank (CCB) has opened a branch in Toronto, the latest step in the lender’s North American globalization strategy.
The branch opened on Dec 5 with a ceremony attended by Guo You, chairman of the supervisory board of CCB in Beijing; Joe Oliver, Canada’s Finance minister; Victor Oh, Canadian senator from Ontario; Fang Li, Chinese consul general to Toronto; Yu Benlin, minister counselor of the Chinese embassy; and more than 200 local guests.
“Canada is an important target market for CCB to expand its overseas business and the vision of CCB Toronto began in 2009,” said Guo in his keynote address.
“CCB hopes to improve visibility in the Canadian market, provide quality and efficient financial services for both Chinese and Canadian customers, and make a positive contribution for financial cooperation and trade exchange between China and Canada.”
CCB received official approval from Canadian authorities to open the branch on Oct 29. CCB is the first Chinese bank to establish a branch under Canada’s foreign bank branching regime, and the second CCB branch operation in North America after New York.
China is Canada’s secondlargest single-country trading partner after the United State, .with two-way bilateral merchandise trade between the countries totaling $73.2 billion in 2013, up 38 per cent over the past five years.
Foreign direct investment between Canada and China increased more than sevenfold between 2005 and 2013, to a total of $21.5 billion. Canadian direct investment in China stood at $4.9 billion at the end of 2013, almost six times as much as a decade earlier.
“The continued and ongoing relationship between the two countries will strengthen trade and financial services, which will allow for growth and expansion of CCB Toronto,” Guo said.
In his remarks at the opening ceremony, Finance Minister Oliver hailed the economic relationship between Canada and China, saying it has never been stronger.
“And China Construction Bank is opening a Toronto branch at a time when Canada has never been stronger — the economic envy of the post-recession world.
“By facilitating trade and investment, this bank will help our two nations thrive, by creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.”
During Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s third official visit to China on Nov 9, the two nations issued a statement that Canada will establish North America’s first RMB or yuan trading center in Toronto. They also signed a 200-billion yuan ($32.67 billion) bilateral currency swap agreement.
The yuan clearing bank would be the first in the Americas, and allow Canadian financial institutions to use it to process payments for their customers in yuan.
The move is in line with Beijing’s ambition to promote its currency to more international investors. China also will give Canadian investors the right to invest up to 50 billion yuan initially in China’s capital markets.
“Toronto branch will operate in a prudent and compliant way, and build an entity with standard management, firstclass service and outstanding reputation, providing secured, convenient, high-quality and high-efficiency financial services for its Chinese and Canadian clients,” said Sun Nianbei, the general manager of CCB Toronto Branch.