China says work on charter for Asian bank completed

AP News
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Posted: May 22, 2015 7:32 AM
China says work on charter for Asian bank completed

BEIJING (AP) — Negotiators from 57 governments completed work Friday on a charter for a Chinese-led Asian regional bank that is to be signed in late June, the Chinese finance ministry said.

Beijing's proposal for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank attracted unexpected widespread support from Western governments including Britain, New Zealand and France despite U.S. opposition. Washington and its ally Japan have refrained from seeking membership.

Agreement on the charter followed a three-day meeting in Singapore of envoys from proposed member governments, the finance ministry statement said. Other nations that have expressed interest in joining include India, Germany and Thailand.

Friday's statement gave no details of the charter, including whether Beijing will have veto power over lending or other special status or how environmental and other standards on lending will be enforced. The finance ministry did not respond to a request for additional details.

The bank is intended to finance investments in railways, cargo ports and other trade links. Beijing has pledged to put up most of its initial $50 billion in capital and says that total will rise to $100 billion.

The U.S. government had objected that the bank would undercut existing institutions such as the World Bank and might allow looser lending standards.

The Chinese finance minister, Lou Jiwei, tried to ease such concern in March by saying in comments reported by the official Xinhua News Agency that the bank would reinforce established institutions and "vigorously push forward the global economy."