The central government has announced a series of measures, including tax exemptions, to encourage private mainland companies to invest abroad. A joint declaration by 13 government departments - including the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce and the People's Bank of China - has called for various government departments to work together to resolve the major problems faced by private mainland firms investing abroad. Mainland banks should be encouraged to provide loans, export credit and collateral to finance overseas deals of private companies, the document says. It also urges financial institutions on the mainland to assist private firms in issuing bonds in yuan and foreign currencies, help private companies list on mainland and overseas stock exchanges and establish overseas investment funds. Private companies should be encouraged to invest in high technology and advanced manufacturing in other countries to spur the development of strategic new industries and upgrade industries in China, the document says. The government should support private companies in establishing distribution centres, exhibition facilities and logistics networks overseas, it adds. The document calls for the speeding up of customs, simplification of approval procedures and reduction of red tape for private overseas investments, and says measures to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel and assets overseas should be strengthened. 'Currently, our nation is at an important stage of accelerating the overseas investments of private companies,' it says. Private companies account for a small share of Chinese international investments. State-owned enterprises (SOEs) accounted for 73 per cent of the value of overseas Chinese investments last year and 98 per cent in the first quarter of this year, according to A Capital, a private equity firm that assists Chinese companies investing in Europe. Although China's overseas investments are not the largest in the world, they are the fastest-growing, with an annual rate of 54 per cent, says A Capital. The company expected Chinese overseas investments to reach US$800 billion from 2012 to 2016. About two-thirds of China's overseas investments pass through Hong Kong, according to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.