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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, July 16, 2018

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Singapore considers need for management position at AIIB

Singapore is considering its need for a management position

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Singapore Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam with IMF Chief PHOTO CREDIT: BNN/UPI news

SINGAPORE -- Singapore, one of the earliest supporters of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, is considering its need for a management position in the development lender.

"We were one of the early prospective founding members. We've moved early, and we've encouraged others to move as well," Singapore's Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam told Bloomberg Business. "Several countries including ourselves are looking at whether we should have our own candidates represented within the management of the institution, but it's too early to say anything on that."

AIIB finalized a list of 57 founding member states on Wednesday. Founding members have the right to establish the rules for the bank's activities and hold privileges that will not be available to countries that may opt to join the bank later.

Japan was offered a top position in the bank, but declined -- aligning with the United States instead. South Korea, a key U.S. ally in the region, has agreed to join as a founding member along with Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britain, France and Germany.

An overwhelming number of South and Southeast Asian nations have also been approved as founding members by Beijing.

"There's now a recognition that the AIIB will be a win-win, not just for China or those who joined early, but for the global system," Shanmugaratnam added. "There's no lack of infrastructural needs out there. There's a need for more capacity. If it does at the same time mean a little bit of competition, I would say that's not a bad thing. Not a bad thing as long as it's not a race to the bottom in terms of standards, but a race to the top."

The bank would continue to accept new members interested in providing financing for roads, railways, and other infrastructure projects in Asia.

Analysts said China is adhering to its principle of allowing only sovereign states join the bank as founding members.

The AIIB is the first Asian bank to have international backing but to also operate outside the influence of the Bretton Woods banking system.

Elizabeth Shim contributed to this report.Andrew V. Pestano> BNN

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