NBP to soon get preparatory license to open branch in China: Senior Official

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BEIJING, Aug 07 (APP): The National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) will be granted a preparatory license by the Chinese government to establish a branch in the Chinese capital within next three months aimed at further accelerating trade and investment activities under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a senior official of the bank confirmed here on Monday.
“China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) has already accorded a formal approval to our initial application for setting up a branch through a letter issued in May this year.”
“Now, we have submitted another application seeking issuance of a preparatory license which is under process and we are hopeful to get a formal approval in October this year,” NBP’s Chief Representative, Chaudhary Muahmmad Waseef Aslam told APP in an interview.
He said after issuance of the preparatory license, the commission will give us a nine-month time period to set up a branch and expressed the confidence to make all the arrangements in this regard in due course of time.
Giving other details along with Representative, Shaikh Muhammad Shariq, he said the NBP had established a Representative Office here in 1981 with the view to serve Sino-Pak trade and economic activities and develop excellent business relationship with Chinese Foreign Investment (FI) and Director Foreign Investment (DFIs).
But, there was a need for establishment of a full-fledged branch by a Pakistani bank to further facilitate the traders and investors and enhance quality business after signing of the CPEC, a key component of the One Belt One Road Initiative.
“We will facilitate and encourage joint ventures between quality business houses of the two countries for capacity building and transfer of technology,” he added.
Responding to a question, he said no consultant was hired for this entire drill thus saving around US$ 400,000 for the bank.
At present, he said the bank is conducting market research, liaising activities and providing consulting services to Chinese and Pakistani clients.
The NBP has Relationship Management Application (RMA) agreements with 49 Chinese banks, adding, “We have association with Bank of China, ICBC, Agricultural Bank of China, China Development Bank, China Construction Bank and China Exim Bank through contracts and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The Chief Representative informed that the bank has established branches in 25 countries including North America, Europe, Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia and its last branch was set up in Saudi Arabia.
About other Pakistani banks working in China, he said the Habib Bank, one of the largest private banks in Pakistan has already opened its branch in Urumqi, Xinjiang, which is starting point of the CPEC, and links the region with the Gwadar port in Pakistan.
To yet another question, he said the Representative Offices of Askari Bank, Allied Bank of Pakistan, United Bank and Bank Al-Habib are also working to provide banking services to Chinese organizations and corporate institutions working in Pakistan.
All these banks are eyeing opportunities connected with the CPEC) which is estimated to draw infrastructure investment of $ 55 billion.