A Standard Chartered bank branch in Singapore. Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su

Supporting the Belt and Road Initiative has become the strategic focus of the entire Standard Chartered Group, said Anna Marrs, Chief Executive of Standard Chartered Bank ASEAN and South Asia Bureau, in an interview with the 21st Century Business Herald.

In early November, Marrs led an exclusive travel group of more than 10 executives to China and coordinated with the Standard Chartered Bank China team on financial services of infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative.

In her view, with the continuous promotion of the Belt and Road Initiative, foreign banks will also play an important role.

First of all, with their decades of operating experience along the Belt and Road countries, foreign banks can provide Chinese enterprises with a series of integrated financial solutions for risk management of infrastructure projects, diversified financing and sustainable commercial planning of projects.

Secondly, foreign banks can work with large financial institutions in China to broaden the channels and quotas for fundraising of infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative. As a result, it can diversify capital investment risks while reducing project financing costs.

The Standard Chartered Bank is also actively promoting the popularity of the renminbi and expanding its use. “For example, we hold regular meetings to guide local banks on how to set up RMB accounts, help local banks access cross-border payment system, and help them understand the operational flow of RMB business,” Marrs said.

According to the estimation of China’s State Council Development Research Center, the national infrastructure investment demand along Belt and a Road countries from 2016 to 2020 is at least above US$10.6 trillion. The shortage of funds is one of the major challenges for many infrastructure projects, and this also allows many foreign banks to see huge business opportunities, the report said.

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