AIIB membership to boost Tai­wan’s chances for RCEP: Fi­nance Min­istry

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY ENRU LIN

The Fi­nance Min­istry said yes­ter­day that join­ing China’s Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank ( AIIB, ) would in­crease Tai­wan’s chances at en­ter­ing the Re­gional Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship (RCEP) and free-trade agree­ments.

On Tues­day, Tai­wan ap­plied to be­come a found­ing mem­ber of the AIIB, a Bei­jing-led ven­ture set to fund ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects in Asia by year’s end.

In the wake of public qualms, the Fi­nance Min­istry’s Na­tional Trea­sury Ad­min­is­tra­tion (

) re­leased a state­ment cit­ing the rea­sons be­hind Tai­wan’s bid.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing in the AIIB in­creases the like­li­hood of Tai­wan en­ter­ing RCEP and sign­ing more free-trade agree­ments, the Fi­nance Min­istry said.

Join­ing also al­lows Tai­wan to ac­cess mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties: The Asian Devel­op­ment Bank (ADB) es­ti­mates that over the next decade, the amount of in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment in the Asia re­gion will ex­ceed US$8 tril­lion, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment.

So far, more than 40 coun­tries have ap­plied to join the AIIB as found­ing mem­bers. Ap­pli­cants in­clude ma­jor na­tions of Europe, as well as the BRIC (Brazil, Rus­sia, In­dia and China) economies, which an­a­lysts sug­gest are poised to over­take the G-7 economies by 2027.

If Tai­wan en­ters the AIIB, state au­thor­i­ties can at­tend its sum­mits and other events, strength­en­ing in­ter­ac­tions with other na­tions and boost­ing visibility, the min­istry said.

‘Not black box’: Deputy Min­is­ter

Tai­wan’s move to­ward the AIIB on Tues­day caused con­ster- na­tion in the Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party, which has ac­cused the cen­tral gov­ern­ment of mak­ing the de­ci­sion hastily and be­hind closed doors.

At the Leg­isla­tive Yuan yes­ter­day, Deputy Fi­nance Min­is­ter Wu Tang-chieh ( ) re­it­er­ated to lo­cal me­dia that ac­tion on Tai­wan’s AIIB pol­icy had be­gun last year. Last De­cem­ber, the Fi­nance Min­istry re­quested re­ports from the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, the Cen­tral Bank and other state in­sti­tu­tions and com­pleted its as­sess­ment by March, Wu said yes­ter­day in the Kuom­intang cau­cus press room.

“There were ab­so­lutely no black- box pro­ceed­ings,” Wu said.

Wu stressed that the AIIB is not a cross-strait ven­ture. Much like the Asian Devel­op­ment Bank (ADB), of which the Repub­lic of China is a found­ing mem­ber, the AIIB is an in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion, he said.

The man­age­ment is not con­trolled by a sin­gle coun­try, but by

all the mem­bers, Wu said.

In­ter­est, Not Com­mit­ment

Tai­wan’s let­ter of in­tent only ex­presses will­ing­ness to par­tic­i­pate and not a com­mit­ment to fully ac­cept Bei­jing’s terms, ac­cord­ing to the Fi­nance Min­istry’s Na­tional Trea­sury Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

At this stage, Tai­wan has only ex­pressed will­ing­ness to par­tic­i­pate, ac­cord­ing to a for­mal state­ment pre­pared by Chen Po-cheng, a sec­tion chief at the Na­tional Trea­sury Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“We have first raised a hand, so that we may have a say in the fu­ture,” Chen said.

In­for­ma­tion in­clud­ing the AIIB’s in­vest­ment reg­u­la­tions, su­per­vi­sory mech­a­nisms, mem­ber rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties have not yet been pro­vided.

Once the de­tails are pro­vided, the cen­tral gov­ern­ment will care­fully and openly con­duct an as­sess­ment, pro­vid­ing timely re­ports to the Leg­isla­tive Yuan. Tai­wan’s membership will be con­di­tional on its dig­nity and na­tional in­ter­ests be­ing re­spected.

CNA

Kuom­intang cau­cus whip Lai Shyh-bao ( ), cen­ter right, pre­sides at a press con­fer­ence at the Leg­isla­tive Yuan in Taipei, yes­ter­day. At the press event, state of­fi­cials de­fended the Ex­ec­u­tive Yuan’s de­ci­sion to ex­press in­ter­est in join­ing the China-led Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank (AIIB).

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