Finance Ministry releases revised roadmap to AIIB
The Finance Ministry reported on its adjusted approach to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) yesterday, one day after the China-led institution formally rejected Taiwan as a founding member.
“On April 15, the AIIB Multilateral Interim Secretariat reported that the AIIB has 57 founding members. We were not among them,” Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford ( ) said at the Legislative Yuan yesterday.
Chang said founding members are set to convene in April and May to form rules and regulations for the Beijing-backed financial institution.
During this time, Taiwan’s central government will ask friendly governments within the AIIB to speak on behalf of the country’s interests in meetings.
Most likely in June, members will complete and sign the charter, at which point Taiwan will decide on whether to apply for membership in the AIIB as an ordinary member.
“It should happen by the end of June. Once the charter comes out, we will assess it, and if we feel that there is no downgrade to our status, we will send out (an application),” Chang said.
One variable in the decision will be the terms of membership that the AIIB offers to Taiwan, Chang said.
The Legislative Yuan and Executive Yuan will also consider two other factors: public support and the U. S. attitude toward Taiwan’s bid.
“Australia and South Korea faced (U.S.) pressure as well, but over time it has decreased,” Chang said.
Chang, Financial Supervisory Commission ( ) Chairman William Tseng ( ) and Central Bank of the Republic of China Gov. Perng Fai-nan ( ) reported on Taiwan’s new strategy yesterday at Legislature’s Finance Committee ( ).
The three finance chiefs stressed that entry into the AIIB, which is set to fund infrastructure projects in Asia, would offer at least five benefits to Taiwan.
Participation grants “another opportunity to see friends,” which may boost Taiwan’s likelihood of inking free-trade agreements with AIIB members and ultimately deepen regional integration, Perng said during an interpellation session.
Membership would also improve Taiwan’s international visibility, augment markets for domestic construction companies and stimulate the domestic banking and insurance sectors, accord- ing to the Finance Ministry.
Finally, participation would provide a new direction for cross-strait economic cooperation. In the AIIB, Taiwan would have the opportunity to join China’s “One Belt and One Road” ( ) initiative — a market opportunity of 4.4 billion people, Chang said.
During an interpellation session, Chang said he does not know the reasons or decision-making process behind Taiwan’s rejection as a founding member.
The AIIB’s Multilateral Interim Secretariat did not state the reasons for Taiwan’s rejection, Chang said.
“We expressed our interest (in becoming a founding member). Whether we were accepted was up to the original founders,” he told Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wu Ping-jui ( ).
Wu responded to Chang by asking, “Did our application go through a review procedure?”
Chang simply stated: “To be frank, we don’t have an understanding of the procedure.”