WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will further engage China to encourage a Beijing-led development bank to embrace high governance standards, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.
Washington has generally given the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank a chilly reception, warning that it has yet to embrace the standards established over the last 70 years by the world’s big development organizations such as the World Bank.
Beijing aims to use the AIIB to boost its global clout, and Washington’s warnings failed to avert a diplomatic blow suffered when European allies such as Britain, France and Germany pledged to join the new bank.
China’s finance ministry said on Wednesday that 57 countries will be founding members of the AIIB. However, among the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized countries, the United States, Japan and Canada remain holdouts. Beijing has said it will have the largest share in the bank but will not hold veto power.
U.S. officials have expressed hope that the AIIB could work with existing institutions, thereby agreeing to their standards for transparency and avoiding corruption while protecting the environment and labour rights.
In a call with journalists, a senior Treasury official said the new bank allowed “similarly for the United States to work in a bilateral fashion with the Chinese.”
“That is our clear message on the AIIB,” the official said in a call previewing this week’s meeting of global officials at the International Monetary Fund.
It was not clear what the bilateral work with China would entail. A Treasury spokeswoman said the official was not referring to the United States co-financing any AIIB projects.
He also said the United States would continue pushing for countries to use all available tools to boost economic growth. He singled out Germany, China and South Korea for running growing current account surpluses.
Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Paul Simao, Leslie Adler and Ken Wills