Philippines not discussing decision on joining AIIB in APEC
Prinz Magtulis (Philstar.com) - October 20, 2015 - 9:29pm

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino is unlikely to raise the Philippines's participation in the China-led Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) on the sidelines of the meetings at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose told The STAR the country "is not raising AIIB in any of our meetings" with other countries during the APEC Leaders' Summit from November 17 to 19.

He added in a text message the "AIIB is not in the formal agenda of the three-day meetings that will culminate Manila's hosting of the 21-member group's annual gathering.

The Philippines is one of the last four nations that have held off from formally signing into the Beijing-based AIIB, seen to rival the US-led World Bank and the Japan-chaired Asian Development Bank (ADB). The other three are Denmark, Kuwait and South Africa.

Despite this, National Treasurer Roberto Tan said the Philippines has already received invitations from other countries to join their "constituencies" forming the AIIB's board. Tan attended the recently concluded AIIB meeting in Frankfurt, Germany.

“The way it works is there will be constituencies grouping countries and these countries will be represented in the board,” Tan told reporters.

“We are being approached by some countries to be part (of their constituency), although of course, we cannot say anything yet because we have not signed yet,” he added.

Tan participated as part of the country's delegation to the AIIB's 7th chief negotiators meeting last September 28 to 29 where prospective country-members gathered to discuss the bank’s by-laws.

The multilateral lender's “operational policies and legal framework” were discussed during "very constructive" meetings, Tan said. Consultations for candidates on key positions were also held.

The country has until December 31 this year to sign into AIIB's Articles of Agreement to become an official member. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima had earlier said the government will take its time on deciding on the matter.

"It is still being discussed,” Tan reiterated when asked on the status of the Philippines in Beijing-based AIIB.

Jose, for his part, said the government has formed a technical working group to “carefully study" the pros and cons of the country's participation in the AIIB.

Joining the AIIB is feared by some to be used by China as a political advantage and exert influence on its members.

The Philippines and China has not had smooth foreign relations during the Aquino administration, which stood pat on its claims in territories in South China Sea and even filed a complaint against Asia’s largest economy before the United Nations.

Earlier, Purisima said the government sees AIIB as "complementary" to existing fund pools, such as the World Bank and ADB, to finance Asia's infrastructure gap seen to hit $1 trillion a year.

ACIRC AIIB ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK ASIAN INFRASTRUCTURE AND INVESTMENT BANK BEIJING CHARLES JOSE FINANCE SECRETARY CESAR PURISIMA FOREIGN AFFAIRS QUOT
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