Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Keyuan at the Launch of RMB Service in HSBC Malta
（From Chinese Embassy in Malta）
7th October 2011, H.E. Zhang Keyuan attended the official launch of HSBC Bank Malta's RMB trade settlement services, together with Finance Minister Hon. Tonio Fenech and HSBC(Malta) CEO Alan Richards. The following is the remarks made by Ambassador Zhang at the event.
Dear Hon. Tonio Fenech,
It is my great pleasure to join you today. Firstly, I would like to extend my warm congratulations on HSBC launch RMB trade settlement services as 'a one stop shopping' facility direct to HSBC China.
China is the 2nd largest economy and 2nd largest trading country in the world. It expects the world to benefit from its development, especially in the context of a global economic recession.
Chinese currency, Renminbi or RMB, definitely has an important role to play in this process. But the currency, many people say, is still not fully convertible, in some politicians' words, still a "rate-manipulated" currency, so why RMB and why now?
Firstly, there is a huge demand in trade settlement. The Chinese Government launched a pilot program in July 2009 to start the use of RMB in cross-border trade between China and ASEAN member countries. The demand has grown so fast that RMB market has gone from being non-existent to having over USD 3 billion turnover a day, making it one of the fastest growing currencies in the world. In fact, RMB trade settlements in the first three months of 2011 were 15% higher than the same period in 2010, and 20 times more than in 2009
HSBC started its RMB service in June 2010 follows the extension of the permit by the Chinese government to more banks and institutions.
Secondly, the RMB is for sure will be a fully convertible world currency. Chinese government always presses ahead with the reform of the RMB exchange rate regime in line with the principle of independent decision-making, gradual progress and controllability, as it serves the common interests of China and the world at large and contributes to global economic stability and sustainable development. China has been making step-by-step but assured changes in its economic reform, including monetary policies.
With the long-existing excellent bilateral relationship between China and Malta, I am very happy to witness that the trade and investment cooperation has remarkably developed. The trade volume has reached 131.8 million in the first 7 months this year with Maltese exports to China increased to 40 million. Financial cooperation flourished. An MOU was signed last year by China Security Regulatory Commission and Malta Financial Services Authority. Another MOU is under negotiation by the China Development Bank and the Central Bank of Malta. I am sure that HSBC's RMB service will benefit both Chinese and Maltese customers involved in trade between the two countries
HSBC is a traditional banking partner of China. The name HSBC stands for Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation because the bank started its business there more than 100 years ago. It is one of the first foreign banks set up branches in China after the country reopened its door to the outside world in 1978. I am confident that with the large presence and deep knowledge of HSBC in China, the new service will greatly benefit trade and investment as well as open more opportunities for both China and Malta.
In conclusion, I commend HSBC for its vision to be the first bank in Malta launching RMB trade settlement services, and wish it every success.