Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen is expected to explain Hong Kong's role in the renminbi clearing scheme today after the State Council yesterday named Shanghai and four cities in Guangdong to take part in the pilot programme. The State Council approved the scheme, which will allow exporters and importers in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Dongguan to settle cross-border trade deals in yuan. A Hong Kong government spokesman said: 'We in Hong Kong have completed the necessary technical preparations for becoming the first place outside the mainland to operate the pilot programme. We will work closely with the relevant mainland authorities to ensure a smooth operation of the programme.' Premier Wen Jiabao had pledged the nation's support for Hong Kong, saying that plans had been drawn up for renminbi trade settlement in the city, to be implemented as soon as they had received approval from the State Council. Yesterday, the council - presided over by Mr Wen - urged departments concerned to issue rules relating to the trial scheme as soon as possible. But Xinhua did not release details of the pilot scheme. Yuan settlement was in accordance with market demand, said Cao Honghui, a researcher with the Institute of Finance under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), but increasing the yuan's global acceptance would be decided by factors such as the nation's economic development and improvements to the financial system. Beijing has been arranging currency swaps with trading partners to bypass the US dollar in trade settlements. CASS economist Zhang Bin said these swaps would guarantee the progress of yuan settlement. It was announced in December after a State Council meeting that companies in Hong Kong and Macau would be allowed to use yuan to settle trade in goods with partners in Guangdong and the Yangtze River Delta under a pilot programme.