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Russia, Brazil To Join Chinese-Led Asian Infrastructure Bank

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (left) with Russian President Vladimir Putin (right). Photo courtesy of The Russian Presidential Press and Information Office.

File Photo: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (left) with Russian President Vladimir Putin (right). Photo courtesy of The Russian Presidential Press and Information Office.

Brazil and Russia have announced their plans to join the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) — a potential rival to the Western-led IMF and World Bank — as founding members.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced on Friday that Brazil had accepted China’s invitation and was seeking to become a founding member of the bank.

“The Brazilian government accepted the invitation of the PRC to participate as a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) … Brazil is keen to participate in this initiative,” the office of President Dilma Rousseff said in a short statement.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov followed Brazil by announcing on Saturday that Russia too was seeking to become a founding member of the bank, RT reports.

“I would like to inform you about the decision to participate in the AIIB,” which was made by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Shuvalov said, adding that Russia welcomes China’s new Silk Road Economic Belt initiative and is eager to step up cooperation.

“We are delighted to be able to step up cooperation in the format of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and China…the free movement of goods and capital within the EEU brings economies of Europe and Asia closer. This is intertwined with the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, launched by the Chinese leadership,” he said.

Earlier in the month — in a surprise move — the UK applied to become the first Western nation and G7 member to join the AIIB.  The move was followed several days later by G7 members Germany, France, and Italy whom announced that they too applied to join the bank, much to its embarrassment of the Obama administration who had made pleas to stand back from the bank amid concerns that Beijing would extend its influence in the region.

Days later both Switzerland and Luxembourg submitted their applications for membership.

Over a week later — as the U.S. reassessed its stance — The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that the U.S. was seeking collaboration with the AIIB by proposing that the bank work in a partnership with Washington-backed development institutions in a strategic plan to steer the new bank toward economic aims of the world’s leading economies and away from becoming an instrument of Beijing’s foreign policy.

Australia, a key U.S. ally in the Asia-Pacific region which also had come under pressure from Washington to stay out of the new bank, has expressed its openness to joining the AIIB, and is expected to apply for membership.  Whereas Japan has remained skeptical about the negotiation, but says it is in close contact with its key ally, the U.S.

This week TurkeySouth Korea, Austria, Hong Kong, and Taiwan have announced plans to join the AIIB as a founding members.

China’s Finance Ministry said on Saturday that the U.K. and Switzerland had been formally accepted as founding members of the bank.

As of March 28, there are 40 nations set to join the AIIB as founding members, according to Wikipedia.

As the March 31 deadline for membership application with the AIIB looms, whom will be next?  We shall find out very soon….

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