• Australia to join China-backed infrastructure bank

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    SYDNEY: Australia said on Wednesday it will join the new Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as a founding member, contributing Aus$930 million ($719 million) in paid-in capital over five years.

    Australia is the latest US ally to sign up to the bank, which has been shunned by Washington and Tokyo, the world’s largest and third-largest economies respectively.

    The AIIB has 57 prospective members, and will have a paid-in capital of $20 billion and total authorized capital of $100 billion, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Treasurer Joe Hockey said in a joint statement.

    “The decision comes after extensive discussions between the government, China and other key partners around the world,” the ministers said.

    “There is an estimated infrastructure financing gap of around $8 trillion in the Asian region over the current decade. The AIIB will be part of the solution to closing this gap.”

    Hockey will seal the agreement in Beijing on Monday.

    The bank, expected to be operational later this year and based in the Chinese capital, has been viewed by some as a rival to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, two institutions under strong US influence.

    AFP

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