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42 countries file applications to join AIIB

CCTV.com

03-30-2015 16:36 BJT

Tuesday is the deadline for countries to apply to join the China-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as a founding member. More than forty countries so far have filed applications to become a member of the regional bank.

Countries are still seeking to join the AIIB as the founding member deadline approaches. Denmark filed its application on Saturday while Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed Sunday that Australia has decided to apply to join the bank.

"I am glad that the Australian government has made the decision. Personally I am a firm supporter for Australia in joining the AIIB. I believe the AIIB will help to support financing infrastructure development in Asia," Former Australian PM Kevin Michael Rudd said.

China's Ministry of Finance says that by Sunday, 42 countries -- including Denmark and Australia -- had filed applications to join the AIIB. The AIIB will be formally established by the end of this year and some likely members are already expressing high hopes for the regional bank.

A number of American allies, including Germany, France, the UK and Italy, have already announced plans to begin putting money toward the AIIB. But the U.S. has not decided to join as Washington worries that the AIIB fund would weaken the status of such global financial institutions as the World Bank and the IMF.

"It is good to have new applicators for the AIIB. I heard that the finance minister is about to make a China tour. I hope the AIIB will be on his agenda," former US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez said.

The Asian Development Bank estimates that there is an 8- trillion-U.S. dollar deficit in Asia's infrastructure fields, including transportation, energy and telecommunications.

Setting up the AIIB will help to drive growth and demand in Asia Pacific countries. But more importantly, the AIIB will also serve as a useful complementary tool for the world financial order as it provides mechanisms to transfer the global weight of the region's economies to other areas.

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