China infrastructure bank to open in Islamabad

BEIJING, July 10 — China’s leading policy infrastructure bank, China Development Bank (CDB), is to set up an office in Islamabad later this year, becoming the first Chinese financial institution to build a presence in Pakistan.

According to Sirajuddin Aziz, a senior executive of Pakistan’s leading Bank Alfalah, CDB will help provide medium and long-term loans for development projects. A three-member team to be led by CDB’s division chief Cai Tinniu will visit Pakistan later this month to make necessary arrangements, he said, returning from a five-day trip to Beijing.

Bank Alfalah has also arranged financial mechanisms with China’s “big four” commerical banks – Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agriculture Bank of China and the International Commercial Bank of China – establishing cooperative partnerships to promote bilateral trade.

These financial institutions, said Aziz, have agreed to provide a fixed credit-line to the Alfalah Bank for trade business.
The Pakistani side will extend similar facility to the Chinese Bank on reciprocal basis. For its part, Bank Alfalah will also consider setting up its representative office in China. The Chinese side, he said has also conveyed its request to Pakistan for arranging a training programme for their young bankers in matters relating to trade financing and capital markets. “We will seriously evaluate this proposal to arrange such kind of training from next year,” said Aziz.

“The great potential for development in the Chinese economy promises high capital returns and untapped business opportunities in financial services,” Aziz said adding, “Competition and cooperation between Chinese and Pakistani financial institutions could help bring greater development in the banking sector as well as advancing trade ties.”
CDB is one of three “policy” banks in China, responsible for developing major infrastructure projects.

In 2006, China and Pakistan celebrated 55 years of friendly diplomatic relations, and have pledged to work together to build economic ties between the country.

In April, Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf pledged to make Pakistan an “energy and trade corridor” for the central Asian region, and proposed a pipeline direct from China to Karachi. China is also reported to be building a new 600MW nuclear power plant in the country, to add to its existing 138MW Karachi nuclear power plant.

“When the Karakoram Highway was built, the world called it the eighth wonder – we can create the ninth and tenth wonders by establishing energy pipelines and railway linkages between the two fast growing economies,” said President Musharraf during a visit to Beijing in April 2006.

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