AIIB Chief Says Door Still Open to U.S. To Join

January 10, 2017

Jin Liqun, the president of the AIIB, in talking to Bloomberg Monday, said that the door to membership was still open to the United States.

"The door will remain that way," Jin said. "We maintain a consistent policy. The AIIB is a multilateral development institution," he said. "We can work very well together," he stated, adding that senior officials in the US government, including Democrats and Republicans, have shared with him their praise for the new institution. "I'm very much encouraged by the very positive comments on AIIB," he added.

The AIIB's inaugural projects ranged from a slum upgrade in Indonesia to a new pipeline linking gas fields in Azerbaijan to markets in southern Europe, via Turkey. The bank lent US$1.73 billion last year, exceeding an earlier target of US$1.2 billion. Mr. Jin said that 75% of the bank's projects so far are proposed and co-financed with existing lenders, including the Washington-based World Bank, Manila-based Asian Development Bank and London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, while AIIB staff selected the remainder.

According to Jin, the AIIB will continue to collaborate closely with those other multilateral lenders while beefing up its own capability and working to increase its disbursements.

"The pipeline is getting bigger, and the bank's priority is to have a better balance across the regions, countries, and sectors," he said.

With regard to China's measures recently to stem capital flight, Jin indicated that such measures were probably needed. He added that the global economic outlook this year is more positive than last year.

"If you look at the short-term cyclical recovery, and long-term trend, these two factors seem to be doing pretty well," Mr Jin said. "That would, in my view, favor infrastructure investment, both in emerging market economies and in developed countries, which in turn will help sustain the growth. It is gratifying to learn that even in the US, they would like to spend more money on the infrastructure," Jin noted.