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ADB sees AIIB competition as good thing

By China Daily in Washington | China Daily USA | Updated: 2016-09-12 11:10

Senior officials from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said they welcome the competition from the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

The AIIB, with 57 founding members, was set up under an initiative by the Chinese government to finance infrastructure construction in the Asia-Pacific region. The Beijing-headquartered bank started operations in December 2015.

Canada was the latest major economy to apply to join the AIIB during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recent visit to China, leaving the United States and Japan as the only two G7 countries that have not applied.

"The competition is good for the region because it's going to give more options and create more finance to the region. It also forces our institution to be better at what we do," said ADB Vice-President Stephen Groff at a talk in Washington on Sept 8 that marked the 50th anniversary of ADB.

"We can learn from China by looking at what it did in terms of creating access to so many different communities that were shut off from opportunities - education, health or economic opportunity," Groff said at the talk themed The ADB at 50: Adapting for a New Era in Development Finance.

The staff of the AIIB can come from any of the member governments, the World Bank or the ADB, which is good, said Cinnamon Dornsife, senior adviser with the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Groff said although AIIB may eventually build up relationships and trust among countries as ADB did, at this moment, ADB could still take advantage of its established relationships and long-standing procedures, expertise and influence.

"With respect to the AIIB, the US is not at this point considering joining the AIIB," said Marisa Lago, assistant secretary for international markets and development of the US Treasury Department.

The US government drew sharp criticism at home for its initial opposition to AIIB but has since softened its tone after many key allies joined the multilateral bank.

"Canada is always looking for ways to create hope and opportunity for our middle class as well as for people around the world, and membership in the AIIB is an opportunity to do just that," Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau said in Beijing on Aug 31.

Yuan Yuan in Washington contributed to the story.


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