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China and Australia sign agreement on fintech cooperation

The China Securities Regulatory Commission ('CSRC') and Australian Securities and Investments Commission ('ASIC') have entered into an agreement yesterday to promote innovation in financial services in their respective markets.

The Information Sharing Co-operation Agreement further underlines the significance of the broader Australia-China trade and investment relationship. China is Australia's largest two-way trading partner in goods and services (valued at AU$155.2 billion in 2016, up 3.7% on the previous year). China is also Australia’s largest export market (AU$93 billion in 2016) and Australia’s largest source of imports (AU$62.1 billion in 2016).

Signing the Agreement, ASIC Chairman Greg Medcraft said, “Co-operation between regulators is essential to realise the benefits of the technological revolution. Understanding new developments and their impact in overseas markets helps us to remain proactive and forward-looking in our domestic approach. This Agreement represents an exciting opportunity for us to learn more about the Chinese fintech sector, which is renowned for its success and dynamism. We also look forward to sharing our insights and experiences on regtech with the CSRC.”

Shiyu Liu, CSRC Chairman said, “In the past few years, the rapid development of fintech has created ample opportunities to introduce new financial services, enhance financial inclusion and fulfil investors’ needs. However, financial market regulators around the globe also face new requirements and challenges posed by market innovations. The Agreement between CSRC and ASIC will provide an effective channel for timely exchange of information on fintech developments and regulatory issues, and enhance regulatory cooperation between the two authorities.”

The Agreement provides a framework for information sharing between the two regulators on emerging market trends and developments, as well as regulatory developments pertaining to innovation in financial services. This will enable the CSRC and ASIC to keep abreast of fintech activity in each other's jurisdictions, and help to inform domestic regulatory approaches in the context of a rapidly changing global financial environment.

In recognition of the importance of regulators keeping pace with the fintech industry, the Agreement also specifically provides that the CSRC and ASIC will collaborate through sharing information on regulatory technology ('regtech') trials.

To date, ASIC has entered fintech referral and information-sharing agreements with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, Ontario Securities Commission, Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, the Japan Financial Services Agency, Malaysia Securities Commission, Abu Dhabi Financial Services Regulatory Authority, and the Financial Market Supervisory Authority, Switzerland.

In addition, information-sharing agreements have been signed with the Capital Markets Authority, Kenya and Otoritas Jasa Keuangan, Indonesia.

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