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The finance ministry on 5 December had a comprehensive review meeting with CEOs of banks including top six private sector lenders and discussed ways to promote cross-border trade in rupee, reported news agency PTI.

In the meeting, the ministry reviewed the progress and issues being faced by bankers on this front. As per details, Financial Services Secretary Vivek Joshi with Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal chaired the meeting in virtual mode.

India has been trying to promote rupee trade with several countries following the Russia Ukraine war and the sanctions imposed by the West.

There was attendance of representatives of the Reserve Bank of India and Indian Banks' Association (IBA), sources said.

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About nine special vostro accounts have been opened with two Indian banks to facilitate overseas trade in rupee, following detailed guidelines from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on cross-border trade transactions in domestic currency in July.

The largest and second-largest banks of Russia – Sberbank and VTB Bank – are the first foreign lenders to receive the approval after the RBI announced the guidelines.

In its guidelines, RBI decided to put in place an additional arrangement for invoicing, payment, and settlement of exports/imports in INR.

Another Russian bank Gazprom, which does not have its bank in India, has also opened this account with Kolkata-based UCO Bank.

The move to open the special vostro account clears the deck for settlement of payments in rupee for trade between India and Russia, enabling cross-border trade in the Indian currency, which the RBI is keen to promote.

The RBI has allowed the special vostro accounts to invest the surplus balance in Indian government securities to help popularise the new arrangement.

UCO Bank already has a vostro account-based facility in Iran. Gazprombank, or GPB, is a privately-owned Russian lender and the third-largest bank in that country by assets.

"Indian importers undertaking imports through this mechanism shall make payment in INR, which shall be credited into the special vostro account of the correspondent bank of the partner country, against the invoices for the supply of goods or services from the overseas seller/supplier," RBI had said earlier.

With PTI inputs.

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