BEIJING, March 30 (Reuters) - Egypt will apply to become of member of the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), China’s Ministry of Finance said in a statement on its website Monday.
The ministry said China welcomes the application and Egypt will become a member on April 14 if the process goes smoothly.
China has set a March 31 deadline to become a founding member of the AIIB, which is seen as a significant setback to U.S. efforts to extend its influence in the Asia Pacific region and balance China’s growing financial clout and assertiveness.
The AIIB has also been seen as a challenge to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, institutions Washington helped found and over which it exerts considerable influence.
The United States has urged countries to think twice about joining until the AIIB shows sufficient standards of governance and environmental and social safeguards.
Separately on Monday, Finland said it will take part in the talks to establish the AIIB with the intention of becoming a founding member. Denmark, Russia, Australia, the Netherlands, Britain, France, Germany and Italy have all said they also plan to join. (Reporting by Jake Spring; Additional reporting By Anna Ercanbrack; Editing by Hugh Lawson)