Q&A on Policies for Cross-border Renminbi Services for Individuals

来源: CHINA FOREX 2017 Issue 3 作者:Yang Qi

Q: Individuals can participate in cross-border e-commerce by using Amazon or other platforms,collecting export income through third-party payment services. Should these individuals or small firms be required to meet some form of import and export standards? Can individuals who lack such qualifications but use Taobao and third-party payment services be allowed to collect small sums on export transactions? How should financial institutions deal with this kind of business?

A: In accordance with the People's Bank of China's Guidance on Opinions of the General Office of the State Council on Supporting the Stable Growth of Foreign Trade (PBOC [2014] No. 168) and the Announcements of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Development of Cross-border Foreign Exchange Payment Services Provided by Payment Institutions (SAFE [2015] No. 7),domestic individuals may collect such payments directly through a personal renminbi settlement account in the name of the individual foreign trade operator,and may also receive renminbi payments through cross-border business pilot payment institutions.

Banking institutions can help customers conduct cross-border trade on the basis of the three principles of "understanding your customers,understanding the business and carrying out due diligence." They need to ensure valid identification documents and industrial or commercial business licenses. Moreover,if necessary,banks should require their customers to submit relevant business credentials.

Banks may cooperate with payment agencies that have obtained an internet payment business license to provide renminbi settlement services for enterprises and individuals in cross-border trade in goods and services. Financial institutions need to sign a cross-border e-commerce renminbi settlement business agreement with the payment agency and file a report with the local arm of the People's Bank of China.

Q: Can domestic individuals remit renminbi funds overseas for donations?

A: No. According to the provisions of the central bank's Document 168,banks can provide cross-border renminbi settlement services for individuals conducting foreign trade in goods and services. However,they cannot provide settlement services to domestic individuals who have initial transaction proceeds or secondary income,such as current account transfers. Donations are considered to be in the second category,so domestic individuals cannot remit renminbi funds overseas as donations.

Q: Can domestic individuals remit renminbi funds to Hong Kong or Macau?

A: In accordance with the Notice of the People's Bank of China on Relevant Issues Concerning the Operation of Individual Renminbi Business by Mainland Banks and Hong Kong and Macao Banks (PBOC [2004] No. 254) and the Supplemental Notice on Issues Concerning the Operation of Renminbi Business by Mainland Banks and Hong Kong Banks (PBOC [2005] No. 359),an individual holding a Hong Kong resident identification document or a legal residence permit for Macao can remit money to his or her own account in a mainland bank through an authorized clearing bank. Individuals from Hong Kong can remit no more than 80,000 yuan per day to the mainland while individuals from Macau can remit no more than 50,000 yuan. Renminbi balances can be returned to Hong Kong and Macau through the clearing banks but there must be deposit records to demonstrate authenticity.

It should be noted that if an individual has two identity cards,such as one from Hong Kong and another from the mainland,he or she can only use the Hong Kong resident ID card when opening the bank account in the mainland.

Q: Individuals from Hong Kong and Macao can make remittances to accounts bearing their own name. Can individuals from Taiwan make remittances to third party accounts?

A: Yes. In accordance with the Provisions of the Agreement on the Liquidation of Renminbi Business signed by the People's Bank of China and the Bank of China's Taipei branch,individuals holding a Taiwan identity card can apply for repeat account transactions between Taiwan and the mainland through clearing banks or agent banks. The remittances from Taiwan can be made to an account with the same name or that of another party. Each individual can remit no more than 80,000 yuan per day and the balance of funds can be returned to Taiwan.

Q: Can domestic individuals use renminbi funds for offshore securities investments?

A:In accordance with the Provisions of the Notice of the People's Bank of China on Matters Concerning Foreign Securities Investments by Qualified Domestic Investors (PBOC [2014] No. 331),domestic individuals cannot use renminbi funds for direct purchases of foreign securities,though they can participate indirectly through the Renminbi Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor (RQDII) program. RQDII refers to qualified renminbi investors such as authorized domestic financial institutions. Qualified renminbi investors can use pooled funds or funds of individuals for investments in renminbi-denominated products in foreign financial markets. They cannot use bank funds,however.

The author is from SAFE’s Xuzhou (Jiangsu) branch