EU bank seeking to set up office in China
Updated: 2012-10-12 10:16
By Fu Jing in Luxemburg (China Daily)
The European Investment Bank has decided to expand its presence in China by opening a representative office in Beijing, according to Werner Hoyer, the bank's president.
Hoyer, who stepped into his position this year, said he thinks the plan will strengthen cooperation between China and the EU.
"This is a project which has already been in the cooking for quite a while," Hoyer said. "I think a few of the details still have to be worked out."
Hoyer didn't say when the office will begin operating. He did say, though, that he is trying to settle the remaining details as quickly as possible by staying in close contact with the EU ambassador in Beijing, the European External Action Service, which acts as EU's diplomatic corps, and the Chinese government.
"I am really looking forward to opening the office in Beijing under the umbrella of European representation," Hoyer said.
If various important matters related to the project are settled, he said, he might visit China this year to help open the office.
He said the EIB has been communicating regularly with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing to keep the plan on track.
Once the office is opened, Hoyer said it will try to undertake various projects with Chinese partners.
"Meanwhile, we are interested in getting our Chinese partners involved in the investment opportunities we offer," Hoyer said.
The EIB was founded in 1958 and most of its business has been conducted in Europe. It began operating in Asia and Latin America in 1993.
In 2010, the bank granted a 500-million-euro ($644.5 million) loan to China to support projects to mitigate climate change. That came three years after an initial grant of 500 million euros to the country for the same purpose.
That money has been used to support up to 15 projects in China to mitigate climate change, as well as to support a greater and better use of renewable energy sources and a more efficient use of energy in general.
Under the current mandate, which applies to the years 2007 to 2013, the EIB is authorized to lend up to 3.8 billion euros to finance projects that help mitigate climate change or support the EU's presence in Asia and Latin America. Those goals will be pursued by means of foreign direct investment or the transfer of technology and knowledge.
He said half of the money the EIB gets from the capital markets comes from non-European sources such as China, noting that China's banking and financial markets have developed quickly.
Liu Jia contributed to this story in Brussels.