China pro­poses firm to fund projects in Europe

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

SHANG­HAI: China is propos­ing a fi­nan­cial firm to fund projects in cen­tral and east­ern Europe, Premier Li Ke­qiang said yes­ter­day, ex­tend­ing the Asian gi­ant’s global reach as it flexes its eco­nomic mus­cles. Beijing scored a ma­jor diplo­matic suc­cess ear­lier this year when it set up the Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank, with key Euro­pean coun­tries sign­ing up over ob­jec­tions from Wash­ing­ton.

Shang­hai is also home to a new mul­ti­lat­eral bank ded­i­cated to the emerg­ing BRICS coun­tries of Brazil, Rus­sia, In­dia, China and South Africa, which is ex­pected to go into op­er­a­tion soon. Li told of­fi­cials from 16 cen­tral and east­ern Euro­pean coun­tries gath­ered for a re­gional sum­mit in nearby Suzhou that Beijing was “ready to work with all par­ties to ex­plore the pos­si­bil­ity of set­ting up a 16+1 fi­nan­cial com­pany to sup­port co­op­er­a­tion”.

Li dan­gled the of­fer of cheap Chi­nese funds from both the gov­ern­ment and com­mer­cial banks to the area, which has lagged be­hind more pros­per­ous na­tions in the western part of the con­ti­nent. “We can pro­vide fi­nanc­ing for cen­tral and east­ern Euro­pean coun­tries in line with your needs,” state tele­vi­sion showed him say­ing. “As long as th­ese projects use Chi­nese prod­ucts and Chi­nese equip­ment, China is will­ing to pro­vide low-cost fi­nanc­ing sup­port.”

The coun­try’s big­gest lender In­dus­trial and Com­mer­cial Bank of China and the gov­ern­ment pol­icy-di­rected China Ex­port Im­port Bank, which serves as an ex­port credit agency, would spear­head ef­forts to boost lend­ing, Li said. But he played down the pos­si­bil­ity of com­pe­ti­tion with other mul­ti­lat­eral or­ga­ni­za­tions, such as the Euro­pean Bank for Re­con­struc­tion and De­vel­op­ment, say­ing Chi­nese fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions were en­cour­aged to “strengthen ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion”. —AFP

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