Canada seeks to join bank led by China

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By NA LI in Toronto, ZHANG YU and CAI XIAO in Beijing

Af­ter agree­ing to put a dis­pute over canola ex­ports on hold, Canada and China are cozy­ing up even more dur­ing Prime Min­ster Justin Trudeau’s visit to Beijing.

Cana­dian Fi­nance Min­is­ter Bill Morneau an­nounced that Canada is ap­ply­ing to join the China-led Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank (AIIB).

AIIB Pres­i­dent Jin Liqun wel­comed Canada’s de­ci­sion, which he said “shows its con­fi­dence in the strong foun­da­tions the bank has built in our first few months”.

“Canada has a re­mark­able track record of mul­ti­lat­eral en­gage­ment, and I be­lieve it will con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly to the de­vel­op­ment of this bank,” said Jin at a news con­fer­ence in Beijing.

The Cana­dian govern­ment made the an­nounce­ment af­ter the prime min­is­ter met with Chi­nese Premier Li Ke­qiang on Wed­nes­day in Beijing.

Canada would be the first North Amer­i­can mem­ber of the bank.

“The Cana­di­ans’ de­ci­sion to join this bank will greatly strengthen the man­age­ment of this in­sti­tu­tion,” Jin told re­porters. “We can see that the US’ at­ti­tude to­wards the AIIB is show­ing signs of chang­ing, as it is en­cour­ag­ing the World Bank to coo­pearate more with the AIIB.”

With the aim to sup­port in­fra­struc­ture in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, the AIIB be­came op­er­a­tional in Jan­uary dur­ing its in­au­gu­ral board of gov­er­nors meet­ing.

With a to­tal cap­i­tal of US$100 bil­lion, it is com­pa­ra­ble in size to other mul­ti­lat­eral de­vel­op­ment banks.

Cur­rently, there are 57 mem­bers and Jin said there will be more than 90 by the end of the year.

Re­gional mem­bers hold 75 per cent of the bank’s cap­i­tal, with China be­ing the largest share­holder.

Morneau, who met with AIIB pres­i­dent Jin Liqun on Wed­nes­day, said that join­ing the bank will help Canada fur­ther en­gage in mul­ti­lat­eral in­fra­struc­ture ef­forts, and help pave the way for Cana­dian com­pa­nies look­ing for new busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“They have put for­ward ap­proaches to gov­er­nance, ap­proaches to man­age­ment at the in­sti­tu­tion that show us the im­pact that’s pos­si­ble for those Cana­dian com­pa­nies that will be part of the work that the AIIB does,” Morneau said.

The AIIB has al­ready in­vested more than $500 mil­lion in Bangladesh, In­done­sia, Pak­istan and Ta­jik­istan, and Chi­nese of­fi­cials have said it plans to loan $10 bil­lion to $15 bil­lion over the next five years.

Morneau said that help­ing fund high-qual­ity in­fra­struc­ture in Asia will con­trib­ute to global eco­nomic growth, as well as help Cana­dian com­pa­nies ex­plore new op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Canada can also make con­struc­tive con­tri­bu­tions to the AIIB, thanks to our coun­try’s proud tra­di­tion of in­ter­na­tional lead­er­ship on the global stage,” he said.

“The move shows that Canada sup­ports China’s as­sum­ing a lead­er­ship role in the lib­eral in­ter­na­tional order in trade, fi­nance and poverty alle­vi­a­tion based on re­cip­ro­cal mu­tual ben­e­fit and re­spect for en­vi­ron­ment, labour rights and eco­nomic trans­parency,” Charles Bur­ton, a for­mer Cana­dian diplo­mat and ex­pert in Canada-China re­la­tions at Brock Univer­sity, told China Daily.

Su Ge, pres­i­dent of the China In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, said: “It’s a wise de­ci­sion for Canada to join the AIIB. The move is ben­e­fi­cial for both sides.”

Ac­cord­ing to Bur­ton, Trudeau hopes to set up a mech­a­nism for an­nual meet­ings with the Chi­nese lead­er­ship.

ZHANG WEI / CHINA DAILY

Jin Liqun, pres­i­dent of the Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank, and Cana­dian Fi­nance Min­is­ter Bill Morneau at­tend a news con­fer­ence in Beijing on Wed­nes­day.

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