Reforming the Chinese foreign banking law in the context of international supervisory standard convergence.
This doctoral dissertation deals generally with the reform of the Chinese
(Mainland) foreign banking law in the context of the international convergence of
supervisory standards. The starting premise is that the current foreign banking laws are
out of line with international supervisory standards and practices in various fundamental
respects. Moreover, the Chinese legislators and bank supervisors lack a meaningful
appreciation and practical cultivation of commonly accepted supervisory values. These
realities have underscored the importance of overhauling the foreign banking laws.
The overarching thesis of this dissertation is that for China to develop a viable
and modern banking system, it will need to develop and to implant a suitable legal
infrastructure consistent with emerging international supervisory standards and with
WTO requirements and aspirations for financial sector liberalization. On this vein, I
propose a set of reforms that would create a legal environment for competitive equality
between foreign banks, while at the same time protecting the "safety and soundness" of
the Chinese banking system. I start by looking at the entry of foreign banks into the
Chinese market. My major proposal, in this respect, is that the Chinese foreign banking
law should clearly specify mandatory and discretionary licensing criteria. Since the
licensing of a foreign bank is a process of mutual cooperation between Chinese and
foreign supervisors, I recommend that the foreign banking law should incorporate into
the licensing process the negotiation of a supervisory agreement between Chinese and
I then examine the on-going regulation of foreign banks. In this respect, I
propose that foreign banks should have autonomy to determine the adequacy of capital,
liquidity and provisioning, although some quantitative prescriptions are still necessary.
I suggest further that the foreign banking law should introduce risk-focused supervision.
I also propose that bank supervisors should play an important role in ensuring that
foreign banks establish sound bank management and public disclosure.
Finally, I consider foreign bank crisis management. I propose that the Chinese
foreign banking law should establish a joint responsibility of China and foreign
countries on "lending of last resort" functions. Foreign banks should be required to
participate in China's or their own countries' deposit insurance schemes. I also
advocate a rule-based approach to foreign bank failure resolution in order to reduce
traditional strong political pressure on the Chinese supervisors when they deal with
In sum, this dissertation conducts a critical examination of the current Chinese
foreign banking laws vis-a-vis an analysis of compatibility with international standards
and practices. The end result of this research is a number of considered
recommendations for legal reform that I think should improve significantly the CUlJ'ent
Chinese foreign banking laws.