Canada applies to join China-backed AIIB, latest United States ally to apply

Carla Harmon
August 31, 2016

At the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday, Trudeau said he had "highlighted" Garratt's case in meetings with Chinese leaders but stressed that the goal of the visit was to establish a "strong, stable relationship and ongoing dialogue" with China.

Justin Trudeau has announced plans to apply for a controversial new worldwide infrastructure bank led by China - an initiative Ottawa insists will provide a boost to global and Canadian growth. The AIIB provides countries which invest with possible access to projects funded by the bank.

Justin Trudeau has officially submitted Canada's application to join a controversial new worldwide infrastructure bank led by China - an initiative the Asian country hopes will help build its economic credibility around the world.

The multilateral institution, seen as a rival to the Western-dominated World Bank and Asian Development Bank, was initially opposed by the United States but attracted many USA allies including Britain, Germany, Australia and South Korea.

The government said joining the bank will help Canada further engage in multilateral infrastructure efforts, and help pave the way for Canadian companies looking for new business opportunities.

Canada is aiming to become the first North American member of the bank. While China has said it would welcome the the AIIB, Washington has declined to apply for membership, citing concerns it will fall short of global standards.

57 countries joined the AIIB as founding members previous year.

President of the bank Jin Liqun has welcomed Canada's decision to apply. The institution, launched previous year, aims to boost China's influence in global finance, although the US has yet to join and has questioned whether it will erode global lending standards.

"This is really for us, as a new government, the earliest possibility at which we could indicate our interest", Canadian finance minister Bill Morneau said in response to a question asking why Canada was only applying to join the bank now.

The head of a national group that represents canola farmers says they're concerned that China's plan to impose stricter import regulations on the crop this week will put them at a competitive disadvantage and clog Canada's grain terminals.

The four projects approved earlier this year addressed numerous concerns western countries had about the new bank, he said, including that China would use it to advance its own strategic and commercial interests.

"Certainly we're trying to show that we are prepared to see China take an important role in the global economy", said Burton, a political scientist at Brock University.

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