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Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (the “MOA”) and the Postal Savings Bank of China (“PSBC”) have jointly issued the Opinions on Strengthening Financial Cooperation in the Agricultural Industrialization Sector, Supporting and Promoting the Rural Vitalization Strategy (herein after shortened as “the Opinions”) in a bid to put into action the guiding principles from the 19th National Congress of the CPC and the requirements of the 2018 No. 1 Central Document, jointly facilitate the high-quality development of agricultural industrialization, promote the supply-side structural reform of agriculture and bolster the implementation of the rural revitalization strategy.
The Opinions has defined the general principle of the bilateral cooperation, which is to act on the Central Committee’s decision and arrangement on implementing the rural revitalization strategy, and to find a good match between the agricultural industrialization support policy and the PSBC’s credit supply. The cooperation should leverage the Bank’s large number of rural grass-root outlets and its strength in serving agriculture, rural areas and farmers (“Sannong”) in order to increase financial support for agricultural industrialization, improve its development quality and maximize its benefits, which will in turn play its role in driving rural revitalization. MOA and PSBC proposed to achieve a net increase of more than RMB100 billion in agro-related loans by PSBC in 2018, develop 100 leading agricultural industrialization enterprises and 100 rural projects and grow the credit amount to RMB100 billion within three years.
According to the Opinions, both sides will prioritize the support for strengthening of leading agricultural industrialization enterprises, cultivation of agricultural industrialization consortium, construction of agricultural industrialization demonstration bases and development of village specialty as “one brand for one village”. The Opinions requires the departments in charge of agricultural industrialization to play a good serving and guiding role, recommend quality projects, enhance information sharing and strengthen policy application; PSBC should thoroughly increase its financial support for agricultural industrialization, firstly meet the funding demand of recommended projects, introduce innovative and appropriate credit products, and explore PSBC-featured service models. Both sides will establish a coordination mechanism between departments for close cooperation, make joint efforts to improve the financial services for agricultural industrialization so that agricultural industrialization can play an important role in boosting rural revitalization.
Since the new century, the No. 1 Central Document, a policy statement released by the central government of China each year, has focused on the issue of “Sannong” for 15 years in a row, and made explicit requirements to the postal savings business and PSBC for 12 times. The No. 1 Central Document 2018 mandated that the Sannong Finance Department of PSBC must enhance its support for rural vitalization. PSBC has remained committed to carrying out all arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, always pursues the positioning of a large retail commercial bank that serves “Sannong”, small and medium enterprises and communities. In 2017, PSBC completed the establishment of Sannong Finance Department at all its branches, laying a sound foundation for improving and strengthening “Sannong” financial business. So far, its balance of agro-related loans is more than RMB1 trillion, making contributions to the rural revitalization strategy and the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
According to one of its senior management, to implement the rural vitalization strategy is a major decision and arrangement of the central government to achieve the “two centenary” goals (Note: This refers to completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the time the Communist Party of China celebrates its centenary in 2021 and turning the People’s Republic of China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, and harmonious by the time it celebrates its centenary in 2049), and is key to “Sannong” work in the new era. PSBC is fully aware of the significance of and the important opportunities brought by the rural revitalization strategy. In its next step, the Bank will continue to implement the requirements of the Opinions, further deepen the reforms of Sannong Finance Department, step up the innovation of product and service models, accelerate the exploration of a PSBC-featured and commercially sustainable “Sannong” financial development path, and build momentum for the rural revitalization strategy, thus making fresh contributions to securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and fully building a modern socialist China.