Standard Chartered Bank to play key role in second phase of CPEC

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ISLAMABAD: Standard Charter Bank (SCB) on Wednesday announced to play a key role in the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and it will provide different kinds of services including solutions to the Chinese currency RMB, hedging in RMB, currency risks, and cash management.

“After the successful completion of the first phase of CPEC where most of the funding in projects was based on Government to Government transactions, the second phase is now ready in which mainly, the private sector and financial institutions will be involved, especially in services and insurance areas,” said the SCB Head of Global Banking, Jean Lu while addressing a press briefing here today.

She said Pakistan had been a special partner to China for decades and with the launch of CPEC, the bilateral relations had further strengthened.

She informed that experts from Standard Chartered’s Greater China Region hosted road shows in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan to outline the benefits of, and investment opportunities from China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), together with Renminbi internationalisation.

The purpose of these roadshows was to enable our clients to take advantage of the benefits presented by the China-led BRI project, which is also bringing more opportunities for Pakistan and China, she added.

The B and R initiative, the biggest advocate of globalisation in the world today, is aiming to boost trade and growth of investment across Asia, extending to the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

She said the total trade between China and BRI countries exceeded $3 trillion between 2014 and 2016, and the momentum has continued in 2017, despite subdued growth in global trade.

The BRI initiative has made significant headway in the past four years, and has gained support from more than 100 countries and international organisations, and more than 80 of them have signed cooperation agreements with China, she added.

Standard Chartered Pakistan CEO said that the bank was currently engaged with around 100 Chinese companies who were interested to invest in various sectors of Pakistan.

He said that with the passage of time, the trade volume will increase between the two countries and in this regard, the SCB will have a key role in providing RMB solutions to investors as they will be able to trade-in their own currencies instead of USD.

Many countries, like Pakistan, he said have robust demand for infrastructures, as they move toward further industrialization, move up the value chain, as well as absorb fast-growing populations.

He informed that the bank has been in Pakistan and China for more than 150 years.

“Our longstanding and deep-rooted presence in both countries along with 70 percent of footprint overlap with B&R countries equips us with in-depth knowledge of prevailing political, economic and cultural environments making us an indispensable partner in this extra ordinary progress,” he added.

“It is therefore incumbent upon us to assist our valued clients to capitalize on these enormous trade opportunities created through better connectivity between them and the rest of the world. This roadshow emphasize our promise to be ‘Here for good, while demonstrating our capabilities in providing comprehensive set of products, services and solutions to our existing as well as prospective clients who are looking to embark upon their growth journeys along the Silk Road”, he added

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