Business / Economy

The world votes for AIIB, new economic order

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-01 16:55

BEIJING - The world watched as the number of countries applying to be founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) rose to 46 by the Tuesday deadline.

The soaring participation has been seen as evidence of China's growing international sway. If there is one message to glean from the number of applicants, it is that the world has sensibly voted for a more inclusive, balanced and mutually beneficial international economic order.

Global economic governance has witnessed the rise of competitive bilateralism since the financial crisis, leaving many minor players powerless in voicing their demands.

One case in point is the huge infrastructure demand in cash-strapped developing Asian countries, which are expected to need over $700 billion each year by 2020.

International banks that once financed infrastructure are losing interest as the new Basel rules make risk-management more costly. Pension funds and sovereign wealth funds are not effective enough in this arena, and many countries invest their foreign exchange deposits in more profitable bonds and stocks.

Calls for change are rising. More countries are urging the United States to approve IMF quota reforms to allow a better balance of power.

However, most attempts to give greater weight to rising states in Bretton Woods institutions have been stalled out of national interests.

Then came the AIIB, a China-proposed international lender open to all qualified countries. The bank is set to finance massive infrastructure projects in Asia and meet the growing demand for a more inclusive and balanced international financial order.

The AIIB, despite its focus on infrastructure development in Asia, offers abundant trade and investment opportunities for developed countries with advanced technology.

The initiative complements the existing rules of global finance. It will be a force for good, leveraging reforms to push global financial and economic integration.

However, despite the bank's popular reception, developing a new global economic and financial order cannot be expected to be a smooth journey.

Standards-setting, rule-making and risk-management will test major stakeholders' will and wisdom in balancing power, coordinating interests and seeking growth.

China has vowed to be a responsible stakeholder, and with the AIIB initiative, it is doing just that for a more prosperous Asia and a more balanced international economic order.

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