IMF, ADB add to supporters for China-led development bank

Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:43am EDT
 
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By Matthew Miller and Brenda Goh

BEIJING (Reuters) - China received critical support from the International Monetary Forum and Asian Development Bank on Sunday for its goal of establishing a new Chinese-led multilateral lender, adding to a growing wave of endorsements that has worried the United States.

Leaders of the IMF and ADB, speaking at a conference in Beijing, said they were in talks with or happy to cooperate with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a $50 billion lender to be majority funded by China that is seen by some as a rival to these established international financial institutions.

The United States, concerned about China's growing diplomatic clout, has urged countries to think twice about signing up and questioned whether the AIIB will have sufficient standards of governance and environmental and social safeguards.

Some 27 countries have already signed up to participate in the AIIB, China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei told China National Radio on Saturday. It will provide project loans to developing countries and is slated to begin operations at the end of 2015.

The United States' key strategic allies in the region, Australia, Japan and South Korea, are also considering joining the proposed Beijing-based bank.

Early opposition to the AIIB from Western countries partially dissolved after Britain said this month it would join, with France, Germany and Italy swiftly following suit.

Canberra could formally decide to sign up to the AIIB when the full cabinet meets on Monday, Australian media have said.

At least eight more countries may join the lender by the March 31 deadline, Jin Liqun, secretary-general of the interim secretariat that is establishing the AIIB, told a panel at the conference on Sunday.   Continued...

 
China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei speaks at a news conference in Beijing March 6, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon