China regulators establish joint committee for reform pilot zone

China regulators establish joint committee for reform pilot zone

Shanghai - China's top financial regulators will establish a joint coordinating committee to manage implementation of trial reforms in Shanghai, a move to address widespread concerns that financial liberalisation will be hamstrung by bureaucratic squabbles.

The official Shanghai Securities News, quoting statements made by Shanghai executive vice mayor Tu Guangshao during a conference on Thursday, said that the central bank, along with securities, banking and insurance regulators, would together form a joint coordination group to manage reform implementation in the recently established Shanghai free trade zone (FTZ).

The zone is intended to test profound reforms to the country's economic and financial system, including liberalisation of China's currency regime and interest rates, but the multitude of regulators managing different aspects of policy implementation has already engendered turf wars over who will manage what.

Concerns about the degree of political commitment behind the zone had led many multinational banks and corporations to hold off from moving into the zone - where property prices have already spiked on speculation - but Beijing appears to be moving to reinvigorate confidence.

Earlier in the week the People's Bank of China issued a detailed 30-point list providing additional details on areas of reform, including allowing Chinese individuals working in the zone to freely invest overseas and allowing foreign companies and individuals to buy into Chinese stock markets, both long-awaited reforms to the capital account.

The document also said the yuan would be allowed to float freely in the zone.

The PBOC followed up on Wednesday by publishing a timeline for implementation, saying it would complete implementation of most of the reforms in the 30-point document within the next 12 months.

The aggressive timeline surprised some economists, who noted that such changes risk introducing destabilising cross-border capital flows and arbitrage if not implemented properly.

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