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Last Updated: Monday, March 11, 2019 - 11:53

The Annual Meeting of the Boards of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank and the Inter-American Investment Corporation is to be held in Chengdu on March 26-31.

It will be the first time China hosts the annual event and this year marks the 10th anniversary of China's entry to the group.

On behalf of the Chinese government, the People's Bank of China joined the group in 2009, becoming its 48th member.

The IDB is reportedly the oldest and largest regional intergovernmental development financial institution.

The Boards of Governors of IDB and IIC holds the annual gathering in one of the bank's member countries, where their ministers of finance and presidents of central banks discuss financial issues concerning the Latin American region, global economy, industrial development strategies and IDB Group's operation.

This year's event is expected to attract thousands of people, organizers said. It will comprise a series of meeting sessions, as well as two forums - one designed for mayors from China and Latin America, and the other featuring business issues - a seminar focused on innovation, entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises, and a symposium on green finance.

Revolving around the theme of sustainable cities, some 20 to 25 Latin American mayors and their Chinese peers will share their experiences in sustainable urban development and provide model cases at the mayor's forum.

At the seminar on "Innovation for Development: SMEs and Technology for a Better Future", discussion topics on the agenda will include SMEs, disruptive enterprises, sustainable infrastructure and artificial intelligence.

The business forum will focus on cooperation and investment opportunities in fields such as international trade, energy development, infrastructural projects, transportation and logistics.

The high-level symposium on green finance will discuss a range of issues, including the measures to promote the green development of the financial industry, the support for green loans and policy tools for sustainable investment.

The annual meeting in Chengdu will create a platform for cooperation in innovation, Fabrizio Opertti, manager of the Integration and Trade Sector at the IDB, told Chinese media.

Investment promotional agencies from Latin American and the Caribbean will share investing opportunities from various countries, Opertti said.

Of the three final Chinese cities competing to host the event - the others being Nanjing in Jiangsu province and Guangzhou in Guangdong province - Chengdu won the bid for its infrastructure, including convention centers and hotels that are experienced in handling major international events, he said.

Convenient air transport and high connectivity with other cities also add luster to Chengdu, he added.

By the end of 2018, the city had opened 114 international and regional air routes, hosted 17 countries' consulates and attracted 285 Global Fortune 500 companies to invest, according to government data.

"The city has extremely rich cultural and culinary traditions and the annual meeting will provide an opportunity to help strengthen the cultural and economic ties between the city and LAC (Latin American and the Caribbean countries)," Opertti told National Business Daily.

Huo Weidong, president of Beijing Geely University, said that while facing an array of options in China, the IDB chose Chengdu as the venue for this year's gathering.

The decision demonstrates that Chengdu has forged ahead in economics, culture and finance in recent years. The city's progress has been recognized by the international community, including the Latin American countries, Huo said.

As the host city, Chengdu will be well positioned to collaborate with the countries in trade, investment and culture. Complementary to each other in technologies and resources, they can enhance business matchmaking in key sectors of financial technology, green development and primary energy, he noted.

Zhang Zhi, associate director of the Valuation Department at property service provider and market consultancy Savills Western China, said that Chengdu was the birthplace of jiaozi, the world's first banknote issued in ancient China.

The city's financial gene is embedded in its long history. The influence has echoed through the ages and paves the way for growth of the local financial industry, Zhang said.

As Chengdu is exploring financial innovation and opening-up, the meeting will showcase the city's achievements, he said.

Data from Savills show that Chengdu ranks at the forefront of China's western region in terms of major financial industry indicators, including the balance of domestic and foreign currency deposits, and the Global Financial Centers Index.

The city takes the lead in terms of listed company numbers, fintech, venture capital and private equity. It is on a path toward mutually beneficial interaction between finance and the real economy, Zhang said.

The flourishing financial sector and an upswing in Chengdu's competitiveness have attracted growing attention from financiers.
As a result, a host of heavyweight business and financial conferences have moved to Chengdu in recent years. They include the Fortune Global Forum in 2013, the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meetings in 2016 and the 2018 CICA Finance Summit.

Such a list of international events have distinguished Chengdu from cities with sustainable development, said Fan Xiaolin, an executive from CBRE Group, a real estate service provider and market researcher.

IDB Group's annual gathering will help the host city enter the global financial network as a key destination and build itself into an inland pinnacle of an open economy and a gateway to international exchanges, Fan said.

Chengdu is increasing efforts to become a national financial hub with international influence.

The latest China Financial Center Index released by the China Development Institute in September 2018 ranked Chengdu sixth in China and first in the central and western region.

The global version of the index, released by the institute from Shenzhen, Guangdong province and UK independent think tank Z/Yen, ranked the city 79th worldwide.

Chengdu generated more than 1.53 trillion yuan ($227.64 billion) in GDP last year, an increase of 8 percent from 2017.

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