Finance & Economy

The Philippines is seeing a year of impressive economic growth (at 6.3%) despite the lacking foreign direct investment due to woeful infrastructure constraints. The AIIB can be an additional source of funding for local infrastructure projects. Political disputes surrounding the China Sea disputes were not enough to trump the economic importance of this cooperation.


A more dynamic and flexible AIIB has the chance to develop and showcase strong, new and effective accountability mechanisms supported by all shareholders. Here though, China too must learn from and improve upon its own past practices if it is to prove the skeptics wrong.


Many Western countries, the World Bank and other multilateral institutions are embracing China’s proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Their analysis concludes that the bank is a strategic asset for themselves as well as Asia, and the US could benefit from the same approach.

To offset weaker export numbers and a reliance on foreign reserves, China needs a growth model that emphases quality goods and innovation-led growth. A twenty-first century economic model of innovation particularly requires the support of a highly efficient financial system, a sound legal system of intellectual property protection, fair tax incentives, and better entrepreneurial education.

The Chinese economy is simply too big to remain tied to the once useful monetary anchor of the renminbi–U.S. dollar peg. It is time to let it go. In the short term, it would help deliver a warranted Chinese monetary easing by helping to stabilise the effective exchange rate and to facilitate an orderly unwinding of the Chinese corporate carry trade.

Chiefs of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund overtly expressed their support and intention for cooperation for the AIIB, for its possibility of fast and sustainable development in new Asian economies. This hasn’t developed with a share of U.S. and Japanese controversy over supposed veto ability, lack of “high standards,” the eclectic membership, and the notion that the U.S. “won” and China “lost.”

The rapidly swelling local government debt in China over the past few years are seen by many as a trigger to a credit bubble, or even a full-blown financial crisis. Budget reform, the first critical reform among over 330 reform proposals of the Xi administration, has kicked off, laying the foundation for a more balanced and transparent government budget and financing structure. Yifan Hu outlines the areas needed for both short and long term structural changes.


Over the past two years, Washington has lobbied against the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Now, nearly 50 countries have joined or applied to become prospective founding members. Dan Steinbock argues that the U.S. opposition reflects a deeper challenge – that of adjusting American exceptionalism into the era of a multipolar world economy.

China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Instead of viewing the AIIB as a symbol of looming Chinese economic hegemony, the AIIB should instead be viewed as a global climate change solution with powerful, vastly distributed benefits. Stewart Taggart claims it would create non-discriminatory access to a massive regional market for energy sources ranging from sun, wind, and biomass to hydro and geothermal. Without the external labor sink of infrastructure projects, domestic Chinese unemployment will also rise.

“Currency manipulation,” or unfair undervaluation, especially on the part of China as seen by the U.S., is a concept that is exceedingly hard to pin down from an economic viewpoint. It is true that China runs a bilateral surplus with the U.S., but as Jeffrey Frankel shows, this has little meaning for the exchange rate and competitiveness of their exports.

As China’s economy slows and major U.S. corporations increasingly are moving operations to other parts of Asia, despite the geopolitical risks in other emerging economies. U.S. investment in Southeast Asia surpasses its investment in Brazil, Russia, India and China combined. Curtis China and Jose Collazo discuss the best practices for diversifying Asian investment.

The withdrawal of a few enterprises from China does not necessarily mean that China’s ability to attract foreign investment is declining. Rising labor costs, land costs, and a shrinking manufacturing sector are several structural indications of a changing economy. China will investigate and respond to foreign business concerns regarding the investment climate and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of investors and enterprises.


The move by China to create the AIIB doesn’t imply intention to control the bank; instead it is an attempt to enhance its “soft power,” while avoiding typical international norms of competing for hegemony. Europe’s participation has rendered the AIIB international credibility; yet China is wary that the new institution is already over-politicized even before its official launch and operation.


The U.S. Congress’ inability to pass fair IMF reforms is partly responsible for China’s creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). While the U.S. is not at the center of this newly created institution. America still has time to develop the consensus in Congress to strike a balance between America’s leadership in the international system and the demand of others to have enough space, not only to survive in the system, but also to prosper.

A year-long “temporary” halt to ivory trade outside China is a hopeful, if symbolic, move to end attacks on elephants and rhinoceroses. A coalition of celebrities, politicians, and environmentalists put pressure on Xi Jinping to ban the import of ivory, but current regulations are flouted daily. The movement of ivory must be complete and permanent to fully stop the underground trade.

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