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China-Africa yuan settlement center opens

By Ma Zhenhuan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-05-31 20:21

A cross-border yuan settlement center opened on Friday at Zhejiang Chouzhou Commercial Bank in Yiwu, Zhejiang province, the world's largest wholesale market for small commodities.

The center aims to expand cross-border transactions between China and Africa, further strengthen cooperation with Chinese banks and financial institutions in Africa and explore cross-border asset transfers and other businesses.

For transactions involving Africa, the bank not only provides settlement, exchange and financing services but also plans to explore new models.

Yiwu Baojie Import and Export Company engages in the wholesale sales of fashion products, stationery, cosmetics and makeup products, with its main markets in South Africa and Europe. The company's cross-border trade used to depend on US dollars, which took a long time and was easily affected by exchange rate fluctuations, increasing the inconvenience for both sides.

Since 2022, the company's trade with South African companies has been converted to yuan settlement through Zhejiang Chouzhou Commercial Bank.

A total of 44 cross-border yuan settlements valued at 8.73 million yuan ($1.22 million) have been handled.

The bank has promised to build a multi-functional service system that integrates cross-border settlement, investment, financing, policy research and product innovation. It plans to participate deeply in the construction of economic and financial cooperation channels for Africa, and build Yiwu into a model area for China-Africa cooperation.

There are 176 countries and regions that conduct cross-border trade in yuan in Yiwu. Last year, Yiwu's imports and exports to Africa hit 84.02 billion yuan, an increase of 10.2 percent.

In recent years, the local government in Yiwu has been stepping up efforts to facilitate cross-border payments. As early as 2012, Yiwu took the lead in launching a pilot reform plan for cross-border yuan settlement of personal trade in the country, providing yuan settlement channels for merchants and some countries.

Earlier this year, the city launched its own third-party global payment platform to help unleash the city's market vitality and improve efficiency — Yiwu Pay — which will better integrate some 2.1 million Chinese micro, small and medium-sized enterprises into the global supply chain, connecting them with the global market through digital payments.

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