The launch of the first clearing centre in MENA opens China’s trade gates to Qatar and the region
Doha, QATAR, 14 April, 2015: His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Prime Minster of Qatar and Minister of Interior inaugurated the first Renminbi (RMB) clearing centre in the Middle East region during an official ceremony held on Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 in Doha.
As the first clearing centre in the region to offer RMB clearing and settlement, it will increase financial connectivity between China, Southwest Asia and the MENA region and increase opportunity to expand trade and investment between China, Qatar and the region. The centre provides access to China’s onshore RMB and foreign exchange markets to local financial institutions fostering cross-border use of the Renminbi in the region. Banks are now able to expand their investment portfolios of financial services and products through the facilitation and issuance of financial instruments such as the trading of debt market products, interest rate and commodity derivative products denominated in the RMB.
His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Saoud Al Thani, Governor, QCB, said: “The launch of the region’s first RMB clearing centre in Doha creates the necessary platform to realise the full potential of Qatar’s and the region’s trade relationship with China. It will facilitate greater cross-border RMB investment and financing by businesses, and promote greater trade and economic links between China and the region, paving the way for better financial co-operation and enhancing the preeminence of Qatar as the financial hub in MENA.”
The launch of Qatar’s RMB Centre follows the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in November 2014 with the People’s Bank of China (PBC) by H.E. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Saoud Al Thani, Governor of the Qatar Central Bank (QCB), during His Highness The Emir of Qatar’s official state visit to China.
In addition to this MOU, the QCB and the PBC also signed the Currency Swap Agreement, which laid the foundations for the State of Qatar to become the first centre for RMB clearing and settlement in the region. The agreements were signed in Beijing in the presence of H.H. The Emir and H.E. Xi Jinping, President of China. PBC subsequently designated Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) as the settlement bank for Qatar.
Mr. Jiang Jianquing, Chairman, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, said: “The first RMB clearing centre in the region will open further the gateway and opportunities for trade between China and the Middle East and Africa. Looking to the future, it will improve the ease of transactions between companies in the region and China by allowing them to settle their trade directly in RMB, drawing increased trade through Qatar and boosting bilateral and economic collaborations between Qatar and China.”
In recent years, the RMB has gained significant momentum as a trade and investment currency driven by China’s strong economic growth and the increasing adoption of the RMB as an international currency. During the Qatar RMB Centre launch event, attended by senior officials and leading financial institutions from China, the benefits of the RMB clearing centre were explored by leading economists and bankers in the offshore RMB market. Also in attendance were financial and economic leaders from the State of Qatar, as well as specialists and experts.
Trade between Qatar and China continues to increase, having more than tripled between 2008 and 2013 to approximately US $11.5 billion. Chinese companies have become active partners in the Qatar market, with 13 Chinese companies operating in the State of Qatar in addition to the 181 joint ventures with Qatari partners.
During the Qatar Renminbi Centre launch, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was also signed between the National Treasury of Kenya and the Ministry of Finance of Qatar in support of the Nairobi International Financial Centre.