Australia set to join China's Asian investment bank

AUSTRALIA is set to become a founding member of China's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank - despite senior government members previously expressing opposition

The Federal Government yesterday announced it intends to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank - allowing Australia to participate as a prospective founding member in negotiations to set up the bank.

A statement from the government said it had discussed the AIIB "extensively" with China and other key partners inside and outside the region.

"Good progress has been made on the Bank's design, governance and transparency over the past few months, but we still have issues that we will address through ongoing consultations," the statement read.

"Key matters to be resolved before Australia considers joining the AIIB include the Bank's Board of Directors having authority over key investment decisions, and that no one country control the bank.

"Recognising the pressing need for infrastructure investment in the Asia-Pacific, Australia made infrastructure a priority during our G20 presidency in 2014."

The Labor opposition supports joining the AIIB, however, senior Liberals previously expressed concerns about joining the Chinese-led multinational organisation - fearing it would be used to expand Chinese foreign policy.

The government statement said it would continue to work with existing international organisations as well as the AIIB.

"Working with other key multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the Asia Development Bank, the AIIB has the potential to play a valuable role in addressing infrastructure needs and boosting economic growth in the region with potential benefits for Australia," it read.

- APN NEWSDESK



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