The Shanghai branches of China Development Bank (CDB) and The Export-Import Bank of China (EIBC) have held discussions with 19 foreign banks based in the city, including HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and Citibank, on signing strategic cooperation agreements, under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
China plans to found a financing network along the Belt and Road routes, currently made up of its "policy" banks, commercial banks and credit insurance agencies.
By the end of last year, the CDB had issued more than $160 billion in financing or projects in countries taking part in the Initiative, while the EIBC had signed funding agreementsfor over 1,100 projects in 50 countries along the Belt and Road routes worth 700 billion yuan ($105 billion).
Now, China is looking to attract more foreign players to take part in the network, especially those with many branches along the Belt and Road routes. For example, Citibank has branches in more than 30 countries among the 65 countries taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Zhang Guangping, inspector with the Shanghai banking regulatory bureau, said the Belt and Road Initiative cannot be fulfilled by any single bank or even all the banks in China. Cooperation between Chinese and foreign banks is a must. The "policy" banks should take the lead, and cooperate with foreign banks so as to draw on their experience.
It is believed the foreign banks could offer their long-term experience and networks along the Belt and Road and find huge business opportunities among fund-hungry projects contracted by Chinese enterprises there.
Last year, the Standard Chartered Bank took part in more than 40 projects related to the Belt and Road Initiative.
Experts say the cooperation between Chinese and foreign banks under the BRI framework, can help diversify the funding means of different currencies, encouraging better management and controlling financial risks.