China becomes shareholder in European bank
Updated: 2015-12-16 18:53
By Chen Jia(chinadaily.com.cn)
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Annual Meeting and Business Forum was held in Georgia this year. [Photo/IC]
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced on Monday that its board of governors had approved China as a new bank shareholder.
China's membership will boost its opportunities for bilateral cooperation with countries along the routes of the Belt and Road Initiative, experts said.
The EBRD, established in April 1991 with headquarters in London, is a multilateral development institution that provides diversified debt products and financing services in Central and Eastern Europe, the Eastern and South Mediterranean and Central Asia.
China will be a contributor to the bank's capital base, which allows the EBRD to raise funds that ultimately become investments in projects.
The major target of the bank is to support economic transformation in the regions toward a market-oriented pattern and to promote private and entrepreneurial initiatives.
China's membership will help to connect its Belt and Road Initiative with the Investment Plan for Europe and open up new investment opportunities for regions where the EBRD works, according to Bank of China.
The EBRD will not do business in China, but Chinese enterprises and financing institutions can start projects and build financial cooperation among its 36 members that can borrow money from the bank.
Besides China, the existing shareholders include 64 countries and two international organizations.
EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti, said earlier that the bank is keenly eyeing opportunities to work closely with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which also seeks to facilitate the Belt and Road Initiative. The combined strength of the two banks could allow them to take on much larger projects, he said.
Experts said future cooperation between the two banks will focus on infrastructure construction, energy and railway projects.
Last year, the EBRD issued a total of 8.9 billion euros ($9.7 billion) in debt, of which 800 million was for countries in Central Asia, a region of importance on the Belt and Road routes.
Peter Kung, vice-chairman of KPMG China, said on Tuesday that the move will accelerate projects under the Belt and Road Initiative, which will provide significant support for China's economic growth in the coming year.
"It will also create exporting opportunities for infrastructure in emerging markets like Myanmar and further west into the heart of Europe," he said.