Pak-China financial co-op highlighted at opening ceremony of HBL Beijing branch: Haque
by Jia Wei
BEIJING, Mar. 24 (China Economic Net) - As the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor enters its second phase with a vigorous focus on improving people's livelihoods, cooperation between Chinese and Pakistani financial institutions has become increasingly frequent. The Habib Bank Limited (HBL), the largest multinational bank in Pakistan, opened its branch in Beijing on March 5 and held an opening ceremony on Monday, which aims to better serve Chinese clients participating in the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the Belt and Road Initiative.
HBL Beijing has become HBL's second branch in China after Urumqi branch, its establishment marks an important milestone in the economic development of China and Pakistan.
Pakistani Ambassador to China Moin ul Haque addresses the opening ceremony of HBL Beijing branch. [China Economic Net]
While addressing the opening ceremony, Pakistani Ambassador to China Moin ul Haque said that it was a very important milestone for Pakistani commercial bank in China. “The opening of HBL Beijing branch is a tribute to our two countries, as 2021 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan. He said the central banks of Pakistan and China have been committed to promoting trade development between the two countries, and HBL has made great efforts to promote RMB settlement. He hoped that in the coming years, Pakistan's financial community could cooperate with China in areas such as e-commerce.
Mr. Sultan Ali Allana, Chairman of Habib Bank Limited, said that the trust and support given by the Chinese and Pakistani governments and regulatory agencies is an important factor for the development of HBL in China. The bank has also been working closely with the central banks of the two countries to promote the internationalization of RMB through policy publicity and business facilitation. The year 2021 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan, a historical moment which gives special significance to the establishment of HBL Beijing branch.
Speaking through the video link, Xie Guoxiang, commercial counsellor of the Chinese embassy in Pakistan, spoke highly of the economic cooperation between China and Pakistan. He said, with the deepening of economic exchanges between China and Pakistan, there has been good interaction between the financial institutions of the two countries, which not only ensures the promotion of major projects and investment between the two countries, but also improves the trade facilitation, helps RMB settlement maintain a good momentum in bilateral trade, and effectively promotes the RMB internationalization process in Pakistan.
Cheng Wei, HBL Beijing branch manager and country manager, delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of HBL Beijing branch. [China Economic Net]
On the occasion, HBL reached strategic consensus with Bank of Communications and China Road and Bridge Corporation. Cheng Wei, HBL Beijing branch manager and country manager, told China Economic Net that with the deepening of financial cooperation between the two countries, the bank aims to better serve Chinese clients participating in the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and provide convenient services, including RMB-denominated trade settlement services, for their investment, business transactions and local operation.
Touching upon ever-increasing Chinese SMEs' interest in investing in Pakistan, Cheng Wei holds that limited personnel and understanding of the local regulatory environment are the main issues. HBL Beijing branch can help them get familiar with and adapt to the local business environment in a short time, and speed up their local business development to a great extent.
Ahmed Farooq, Deputy Chief of Mission of Embassy of Pakistan to China, receives an interview with China Economic Net. [China Economic Net]
As this year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan, the opening of HBL Beijing branch is a significant event and a milestone in the economic integration of the two countries. There will be a long way to go. This is the first Pakistani bank to open a branch and serve clients in Beijing, yet we have more banks to come, said Ahmed Farooq, Pakistan's minister to China in an interview with China Economic Net. In addition, he believes that science and technology, agriculture and e-commerce will be the focus of future cooperation between the two countries.
HBL, one of Pakistan's largest private banks, has facilitated around $6 billion for different projects under the $65 billion CPEC, and is the largest executor of CPEC-related financing in Pakistan. With the advancement of CPEC construction, HBL aim to provide clients best-in-class product and services throughout its global network.
Deeply involved in CPEC construction, HBL Beijing branch seeks cooperation opportunities with Chinese institutions, and provides RMB services to global customers. (The article is translated by Wang Su & Fu Bo.）