China’s AIIB Seeks The United States As An Investor
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the China led, USD100 billion capitalized project financing institution, has called for it to become a platform for cooperation between China and the United States, the banks President, Jin Liqun said on Monday. The US has not become an investor in the AIIB, and has been reluctant to accept it as a global lender of repute.
Jin, in a speech given at the Atlantic Council said there was a lot of skepticism in the United States and Europe when China initiated the idea of the AIIB about three years ago. Since then, he said he has reached out to the White House, the State Department, and U.S. think tanks on numerous occasions to explain the bank’s rationale. “We just want to establish a bank which can deal with these shortfalls of financing for infrastructure investment in Asia and all of the borrowing countries in the future.” he said.
Citing China’s experience over the last four decades, Jin said China had borrowed from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and international capital markets to invest extensively in infrastructure from the 1980s through the mid-1990s, which laid the foundation for China’s economic take-off.
“Given this experience, China believed that to promote broad-based economic and social development through investment in infrastructure and other productive sectors is really important. This time I did have an opportunity to meet some of the officials in the new government.” His conversations with the Trump administration focused on how U.S. companies and the AIIB can work together to achieve a “win-win” situation.
It’s not clear whether the Trump administration has expressed interest in joining the AIIB, but Jin said he would work with the United States on its membership. He stated “Since the very beginning, the Chinese government has held the view that it would be a good thing if the United States, the world’s the largest economy, was to join the bank. It should be the platform for cooperation between these two countries.”
Jin said he was proud that the AIIB has two features that the established banks don’t provide: universal recruitment and universal procurement.
“The existing institutions only recruit nationals whose countries are the members. We recruit everyone from across the world,” he said, noting the AIIB has recruited American employees although the United States is not a member of the bank. “We don’t look at your passports. We look at your track record, professional and ethical integrity. Universal procurement means any country, whether a member of the bank or not, can compete for contracts of the bank through open competitive bidding processes. Japan and the United States are not members yet, but their companies will be treated equally and fairly if they are interested in bidding.”
Jin said the AIIB approved loans worth 1.73 billion U.S. dollars covering quite a number of sectors, particularly pushing for green projects, in its first year of operation. About 25 percent of the lending programs were prepared by the bank’s own professional staff, while 75 percent were co-financing programs with the World Bank, the ADB, and other development banks, he said.
The bank’s total approved membership has been expanded to 70 and there could be a total of 85 members across the world by the end of this year, according to Jin.
“Credibility has to be earned through not what you talking about but what you doing by your performance,” he said. Canada and some other countries decided to join the bank after eight months of the bank’s operations. “We know what we are doing is the right course of action, because we intend to work with all participating countries to promote broad-based economic and social development in Asia and in other emerging market economies across the world.”
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