Pakistan to allow use of yuan for imports, exports and financing

ISLAMABAD • Pakistan will allow the Chinese yuan to be used for imports, exports and financing transactions for bilateral trade and investment activities, in a move that economists said yesterday would simplify a massive Chinese investment project.

Both public and private sector enterprises may use the yuan for bilateral trade and investment, the central State Bank of Pakistan said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

"As per current foreign exchange regulations, Chinese yuan (CNY) is an approved foreign currency for denominating foreign currency transactions in Pakistan," it said.

"In terms of regulations in Pakistan, CNY is on a par with other international currencies such as USD, euro and JPY," it added, referring to the US dollar, euro and yen.

In the light of a massive Chinese infrastructure project in Pakistan, the central bank said, the move would "yield long-term benefits for both countries".

The bank also said it "foresees that CNY-denominated trade with China will increase significantly going forward; and will yield long-term benefits for both" due to the increased trade and investment.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a US$54 billion (S$71.8 billion) project launched in 2013 linking western China to the Indian Ocean via Pakistan, has been hailed as a "game changer" by Pakistani officials.

In the light of a massive Chinese infrastructure project in Pakistan, the bank said, the move would "yield long-term benefits for both countries".

They hope the power stations and transmission lines built as part of the project will help ease Pakistan's chronic power crisis.

Economic analyst and former government adviser on finance Salman Shah welcomed the central bank's move, saying that avoiding dollar transactions in the implementation of CPEC would "simplify matters very considerably".

The Chinese economy is now one of the biggest in the world, he said, justifying the use of the Chinese currency of choice.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2018, with the headline 'Pakistan to allow use of yuan for imports, exports and financing'. Print Edition | Subscribe