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AIIB's global role 'set to be crucial'

By CECILY LIU and BO LEUNG | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-01-26 18:59

New bank's president says it has key role in boosting globalization

The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is set to play a crucial role in global and regional integration, key trends that will define 21st century global growth, says Jin Liqun, AIIB's president.

AIIB's global role 'set to be crucial'

Jin Liqun, AIIB's president

Jin made the comment a week after President Xi Jinping delivered his landmark speech championing the benefits of globalization at the World Economic Forum in Davos. New United States president Donald Trump, meanwhile, has railed against what he sees as the ills of economic globalization.

"Globalization in its next phase should share benefits to all participants… this question is most relevant to our bank," said Jin, who stressed that AIIB adheres to high standards of governance and transparency, and has zero tolerance for corruption.

Jin was speaking at the Dublin-based European Financial Forum that was attended by about 500 global participants. Ireland, which recently filed an application for AIIB membership, is one of about 30 countries that are expected to join this year, alongside Canada, Ethiopia, Sudan and others.

The huge interest and support AIIB is attracting is being seen as a demonstration of China's increasing leadership in promoting globalization.

Established just over a year ago with 57 founding shareholders in spite of opposition from the US, AIIB has already approved a lending program of $1.73 billion, and invested in nine projects across Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Championing a central motto of 'lean, clean and green', the bank seeks to fund environmentally sustainable infrastructure projects that have a long-term focus.

"Our bank is trying to do things differently, and do different things, finding unique, Asian approaches to development for the 21st century," he said. "The bank should be squeaky clean, or should not exist at all."

Paul Ryan, director of international institutions at Ireland's Department of Finance, praised the AIIB's focus on corporate governance and sustainability.

After membership is granted, Ireland will be able to contribute its infrastructure investment knowledge and experience in drafting new policies and environmentally-friendly infrastructure investment, Ryan said.

In addition to contributing expertise from a government perspective, Ryan said he hopes Irish firms will win contracts for projects receiving AIIB funding.

Jin also spoke in London on Monday, at this year's Icebreakers Annual Chinese New Year Dinner, where he said Britain can make a valuable contribution to the AIIB, including helping make regulations and other important policies.

Britain is one of AIIB's founding members, and the British government said at the eighth China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue in November that it will invest up to $50 million in the AIIB.

Jin added that the AIIB will promote connectivity and the construction of infrastructure through the consensus of member countries.

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