as part of its continuing program of economic reform. Lou Jiwei, a senior official of the Commission for Restructuring the Economy and a close adviser to Zhu Rongji, senior vice-premier in charge of the economy, announced that the Long-Term Credit and Development Bank, planned for early next year, would fund projects in vital sectors such as energy and transportation, and that the Import and Export Bank would aim to stimulate exports of machinery and electronics. There were also indications that the People's Bank of China would have its functions as a central bank more clearly defined under a new central bank law. These developments come after extensive consultation with the World Bank, IMF and other institutions.
Projects of the kind to be targeted by the banks require long-term and low-interest loans, but commercial banks have been reluctant to offer them because of high risk and low profit. The establishment of the new banks is intended to separate policy loans from commercial loans, and free the specialised banks from the lending burden for large capital works projects. There are four existing specialised banks ? Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank, Construction Bank and Agricultural Bank