Fi­nance Min­istry re­leases re­vised roadmap to AIIB

The China Post - - TAIWAN BUSINESS - BY ENRU LIN

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.

Three Fac­tors

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.

Five Benefits

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.

No Rea­sons

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.”

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