PH still undecided on China-led dev’t bank
MANILA, Philippines–The Philippines is considering participating in the China-led development bank, following the recent flood of support for the institution that seeks to rival other multilateral lenders in alleviating Asia’s infrastructure funding gap.
Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said the country’s inclusion in Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) list of members would be contingent on the institution’s goals.
Hopefully, he said, the bank would focus on aiding the development of emerging markets. This comes amid fears that AIIB may become a mere tool for advancing Beijing’s political interests globally.
“What’s important is AIIB will be structured to be complimentary to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank so governance is inclusive rather than exclusive,” Purisima said yesterday.
Last year, the government through the Department of Finance signed a non-binding agreement to participate in discussions meant to thresh out issues ahead of the bank’s formal establishment.
Speaking at the Euromoney Philippine Investment Forum in Makati, Purisima said President Aquino would have the final say on this matter.
“We’re still in the non-binding stage. We haven’t committed,” he said.
Launched last year, the $50-billion AIIB is expected to have China as its biggest shareholder, The Philippines’ Southeast Asian neighbors, particularly Thailand and Malaysia, have agreed to be founding members.
Recently, several advanced economies such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy had said they would join AIIB, too. This was seen as a move in defiance of the United States, whose representative has the most votes at the World Bank.
Purisima said the relationship between Manila and Beijing had several facets. They are currently in the middle of a territorial dispute over resource-rich islets near the Philippines. Talks over AIIB should not affect talks over territory, Purisima said.
AIIB’s professed goal is to aid in the development of Asia Pacific countries. The ADB has said the region would need $8 trillion to finance the infrastructure it needs over the next decade.