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China to Improve Access to Finance for SMEs

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China pledged Thursday to improve financial services for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by offering them better access to finance.

The People's Bank of China (PBOC), China's central bank, outlined principles to facilitate the development of the country's SMEs in a joint statement released with China's banking, securities and insurance regulators.

"Loans to SMEs by banks and financial institutions this year should exceed the amount last year and their growth rate should outpace that of all loans," the statement on the PBOC website said.

The statement ordered financial institutions to establish independent criteria for approving loans to SMEs and to improve their efficiency in processing loan applications submitted by SMEs.

The statement encouraged SMEs to use Renminbi for trade settlement in cross-border trade when possible.

The statement affirmed the central bank's support for SME's purchases of foreign exchange for overseas investment and Chinese companies' foreign borrowings.

(Xinhua News Agency July 2, 2010)