April 10, 2017 / 11:54 AM / 4 months ago

China banks urged to support Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei integration

BEIJING, April 10 (Reuters) - China's banks and other financial firms should provide support for the integration of the economies of Hebei, Beijing and Tianjin, a top central bank official said in remarks published on Monday.

On April 1, the government announced plans to establish a new special economic zone in Xiongan, in the heavily polluted province of Hebei, in order to promote integration with the neighbouring cities of Beijing and Tianjin.

"The financial sector should seize the major opportunities brought by Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei cooperation strategy for its own development," Pan Gongsheng, a vice central bank governor, was quoted as saying in a statement on the bank's website.

Pan told a meeting at which officials from the central bank, the National Development and Reform Commission, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, as well as those from Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei discussed ways to finance the integration.

Financial institutions should step up support for infrastructure and environmental projects, as well as industrial upgrading and technology innovation in the region, provide long-term capital and green financing, Pan said.

"Serving the country's major strategy is an important responsibility of financial institutions," the central bank said in the statement.

Officials also pledged to help firms raise funds on bond and equity markets and get overseas financing.

China is implementing a plan aimed at integrating the economies of Hebei, Beijing and Tianjin, a heavily polluted region known as Jing-Jin-Ji.

Beijing, home to 22 million people, is trying to curb population growth and relocate industries and other "non-capital functions" to Hebei as part of efforts to curb pollution and congestion. (Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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