More countries to join BRICS-led AIIB

30 March 2015

As the joining deadline of 31 March draws near, more nations are committing to join the BRICS-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), despite US criticism and the belief that it will be a competitor to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Over the weekend, Russia, Australia, Netherlands, Denmark and Brazil have said that they plan to join the BRICS-led initiative. Key US allies Britain, Germany, France and Italy have already stated that they would join the new bank.

Russia's first deputy prime minister Shuvalov said Russia decided to join the AIIB. He made the announcement at a conference in Boao in China's southern island province of Hainan on Saturday.

Australian finance minister Mathias Cormann, also speaking at the same forum in Boao said that his country has also decided to become a founding member of the new lender.

China's biggest trading partner Brazil said Friday that it would sign up the application.

The country's president Dilma Rousseff's office said in a statement, "Brazil is very interested in participating in this initiative."

Dutch prime minister Mark Ruette also indicated through his official Facebook page that the Netherlands intends to join the AIIB.

South Korea, Turkey and Georgia have also filed their applications.

Chinese finance ministry said Saturday that Britain and Switzerland have been formally accepted as found members of AIIB.

The application deadline is 31 March and the final details of the founding members will be confirmed by 12 April, according to the finance ministry.

Last week, the World Bank and the IMF welcomed the China-led initiative and said that the institutions would closely cooperate with the new financial body. (See: World Bank, IMF welcome China-led AIIB plan).

With the creation of the new bank, China intends to accelerate investment in the region and bring an end to the US, Japanese and European dominance in lending through World Bank, the IMF and the ADB.

The AIIB aims to provide funding for infrastructure projects such as construction of roads, railways, ports, power plants and telecommunication infrastructure in the Asian region. It is expected to become operational by the end of the year.

So far, it is believed that at least 42 countries have joined or applied to join the AIIB as founding members.

Of the world's major economies only the US, Japan and Canada have not indicated their intention to join the AIIB, but could take a last minute decision.

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