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8 Oct 2014

Jane Perlez, New York Times

U.S. Opposing China’s Answer to World Bank

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…China has been pitching an idea to its neighbors in Asia: a big, internationally funded bank that would offer quick financing for badly needed transportation, telecommunications and energy projects in underdeveloped countries across the region…But the United States…especially on issues such as climate change and arms proliferation, has not embraced the Chinese proposal…Beijing has asked dozens of nations to contribute funds to…Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank…

A senior Obama administration official said the Treasury Department had concluded that the new bank would fail to meet environmental standards, procurement requirements and other safeguards adopted by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, including protections intended to prevent the forced removal of vulnerable populations from their lands…

Clay Lowery, a senior United States Treasury official from 2005 to 2009, said the Obama administration’s objections are not entirely well founded. The Chinese plan, he argued, “could be a positive development — potentially a great way to get Asian countries to work together on significant financial needs in the region.”

Last year, the United States said it would oppose financing of coal-fired power plants by the Asian Development Bank because of concerns about global warming. And early this year, Washington said it would not support construction of dams by the bank if they displaced people from their homes.

“Energy is one of the biggest needs of economic growth in Asia, and China will be able to promise projects without these hindrances,” said a senior A.D.B. official…