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China to establish green financing mechanism for greener growth

Updated: Sep 1,2016 8:03 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China will establish a green financing mechanism to facilitate the economy’s transition to sustainable growth, becoming the first country worldwide to make such a move.

The decision aims to encourage more private capital into green sectors and stem investment that might pollute the environment, according to the guidelines released on Aug 31 by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and six other central authorities.

“Green growth is now part of China’s development strategy and the demands for green financing keep growing as China enters a critical period for economic restructuring,” Chen Yulu, PBOC deputy governor, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

Supportive policies will promote green financing, such as offering government interest subsidies via refinancing and professional guarantees and setting up national green development fund, which will reduce investors’ financing cost or improve their profit, according to Chen.

Chen believed that enterprises would welcome the move as their green investment might improve their reputation as responsible investors.

China also decided to define standards for green bonds, pledged support for qualified green firms to get listed and refinanced, and put in place compulsory information disclosure mechanism regarding environmental issues to solve information asymmetry problems.

China is the world’s largest green bond market, with green bonds issued in the first half of the year reaching 75 billion yuan ($11.2 billion), or 33 percent of the world’s total.

Green bonds can ease financing demands for medium-and-long-term green projects as banks are limited in offering such services, said Chen.

The government is also considering developing green insurance and environmental rights trading markets to enrich green financing tools. China has decided to launch a national carbon trading market in 2017 to offer financing tools for green firms.

Local governments should also take measures such as setting up funds to encourage more social capital to invest in green sectors, according to the guidelines.

Meanwhile, as one of the world’s three economies with green credit index system, China will continue to enhance international cooperation in this field and steadily promote the two-way opening up of green bond markets.

China has put green financing on the G20 agenda for the first time to mobilize more investment in environmentally friendly projects. The G20 has set up a research team on the issue based on a proposal by China.

The establishment of a sound green financing mechanism will be a systemic project that requires the coordination among central authorities, local governments, financial institutions and enterprises, Chen pointed out.

The central authorities will enhance related infrastructure and urge local governments to include green financing into their annual task list while guarding against possible risks to ensure financial stability, Chen added.

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