Denmark welcomed, Sweden interested in, and Norway intending to join China’s AIIB

China has welcomed Denmark’s application to become a founding member of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

CHINA yesterday welcomed decisions by Denmark and Australia to apply to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Denmark will become a founding member on April 12, according to China’s Ministry of Finance.

Danish Minister of Trade and Development Mogens Jensen called China’s establishment of the AIIB “a significant and exciting development in the world order.”

“Since many Danish trade interests as well as development cooperation interests will be at stake in the AIIB, there are many reasons to engage in and influence the AIIB’s investment decisions from its beginning,” Jensen said.

Sweden is interested in joining the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), but has not made an official decision yet, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said during his speech at The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

“We haven’t decided, but we are very close and we think we will be interested in joining too.”

Prime Minister Lofven pointed to the need for infrastructure investment in Asia over the coming decade, estimated to be $70,000 billion.

“Of course, many companies, many countries want to be part of those investments,” he noted.

Borge-Brende-portrait

Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende. Photo: Sjøwall/Utenriksdepartementet

Norway has meanwhile confirmed its intention to join AIIF as a prospective founding member.

‘Norway is a substantial contributor to global development efforts, and wishes to join countries from Asia and other parts of the world in further refining the structure and mission of the AIIB,’ said Foreign Minister Børge Brende.

‘We hope the launch of the AIIB will help address a widely acknowledged infrastructure funding gap in Asia. The Bank has received widespread support in both Asia and Europe. China’s initiative highlights the increasing weight of the new and emerging powers. Norway has actively promoted closer political and economic ties with the Asia–Pacific region, and our decision to join the Bank forms part of that strategy.’

‘The establishment of the AIIB will be important for Norwegian development priorities. Norway will work to ensure that the AIIB embodies the best standards of governance, accountability and transparency. We expect it to work closely with and complement the efforts of other relevant institutions such as the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund,’ said Mr Brende.

Norway will take part in discussions with the other founding members on the AIIB’s Articles of Agreement, which will set out the terms of governance and accountability for the new institution. The final decision on Norway’s membership of the AIIB, together with the structure and level of Norwegian financial support, will then be made.

Should existing members approve the applications, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the Netherlands have also announced plans to join.

Starting AIIB is aimed at helping to fund infrastructure projects in poor Asian countries.

China has set a March 31 deadline to become a founding member of the AIIB and the founding members will be confirmed on April 15.

The Beijing-based bank, which will support infrastructure projects in Asia, is expected to be operational by the end of 2015, with China expected to foot the bulk of the money needed to get the bank started. Donations from other members could increase the size of the overall fund to more than US$100 billion.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has also said that the nation’s new Asian investment schemes, including the AIIB, were not meant to displace existing regional programs.

In June 2014 China proposed doubling the registered capital of the bank from $50 billion to $100 billion and invited India to participate in the founding of the bank. On October 24, 2014, a signing ceremony held in Beijing formally recognized the establishment of the bank.

Front photo: Frode Overland Andersen/UD

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