EBRD President visits China to explore closer cooperation

By Anthony Williams

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 EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti and Vice Premier Ma Kai in Beijing

Sir Suma Chakrabarti meets officials and business leaders

Opportunities to further increase cooperation with China were the focus of a visit to Beijing and Shanghai by the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Sir Suma Chakrabarti met one of the country’s Vice Premiers, Ma Kai, as well as Governor Zhou Xiaochuan of the People’s Bank of China.

There were also talks with the Vice Minister of Finance, Shi Yaobin and many other senior officials from several ministries. During the meeting with Vice Premier Ma, the EBRD President thanked China for its intensive engagement with the Bank since becoming a member in January 2016.

He said the country was already making a large contribution to the EBRD. President Chakrabarti also emphasised the hopes that he and the Bank placed on further enhancing cooperation with China. During that discussion and many others, including with the Silk Road Fund, he underlined that the Bank was a natural partner for China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which reaches into many EBRD countries of operations.

The President stressed that the Bank has the expertise and knowledge to deepen cooperation with the private sector and to support the partnership along the route of the BRI. He told a seminar in Beijing on ‘Cooperation between China and the EBRD along the Belt and Road Initiative’ that Chinese membership of the Bank was a win-win-win scenario.

It was, he said, “A win for Chinese companies as they invest in the BRI and the EBRD regions, in many cases one and the same thing. A win for those regions themselves as China becomes an ever more important source of finance for them. And a win for the EBRD, as we benefit from having such an economic giant as a shareholder.”

It was a message that President Chakrabarti repeated in meetings with Chinese companies and commercial banks. During a business development event at the China International Contractors Association, he said that the EBRD was keen to work with more private Chinese companies and entrepreneurs.

The importance of partnership with other development banks was also highlighted during the visit. In Beijing, he met the President of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Jin Liqun, and, in Shanghai, President K. V. Kamath  of the New Development Bank. The EBRD has partnered on one project already with the AIIB and is offering to help both institutions build their capacity.

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