Ex-Chinese Central Bank Chief Says Digital Yuan Not Intended for International Trade

Zhou Xiaochuan. Source: a video screenshot, CGTN / YouTube

The former governor of the central People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has reiterated claims that the forthcoming digital yuan has been designed primarily for retail use by domestic and even international users – not for cross-border trade purposes.

China has loosely pegged the value of its yuan fiat to the USD for years, and the greenback is still the hard currency equivalent of a lingua franca for most of its cross-border trade deals. 

Fears are high in the nation, however, that Western nations could one day freeze the country out of the globalized economy, and China is believed to be one of a number of countries now actively looking for alternative payment tools that can reduce their dependence on the dollar.

But Zhou Xiaochuan, who served as the Governor of the PBoC from 2002 to 2018, stated that the digital CNY, a project that began under Zhou’s own leadership, would likely play little or no role in international trade.

He pointed out that it had been “designed for” the retail market, with an emphasis on boosting “convenience” for consumers and merchants, but was not intended “to replace” the USD.