China Merges Banking, Insurance Regulators

China Central Bank Gains More Power

The China Banking Regulatory Commission and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission will be merged in the biggest industry overhaul since 2003

The long-awaited move to streamline and tighten oversight of the $42-trillion (€34-trillion) banking and insurance sectors comes as authorities seek more clout to crack down on riskier lending practices and reduce high corporate debt levels.

Liu He, President Xi Jinping's top economic adviser, is overseeing that battle on financial risk and praised the reforms as "revolutionary" in an editorial published in Communist party mouthpiece the People's Daily on Tuesday.

China said it will merge its banking and insurance regulators and create a new agricultural and rural village ministry, a parliament document released on Tuesday showed, among a number of proposed changes in the biggest ministry shake-up in years.

The new regulator will be capable of "holding the bottom line to prevent systematic financial risk", the parliament document says.

Since the beginning of a year ago, Beijing has cracked down on leverage and risky market practices, with China's various regulators releasing a flurry of new rules in an attempt to rein in risks.

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Functions such as drafting key regulations and prudential oversight will be transferred to the PBOC, according to the document.

"We should understand the necessity of promoting this deep transformation", Liu wrote of the reforms.

The proposed commission will be responsible for formulating national health policies, coordinating and advancing medical and healthcare reform, establishing a national basic medicine system, supervising and administering public health, medicare and health emergencies, as well as family planning services, the document said.

The draft also includes a new immigration bureau and changes to the tax system.

There will be 26 ministries and commissions of the State Council after the reshuffle.

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