(Corrects timeframe, name of official in final paragraph)
By Yawen Chen and Sue-Lin Wong
BEIJING Aug 31 Canada will apply to join the
China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB,
Canadian and bank officials said on Wednesday, making it the
latest ally of the United States to join the new international
The multilateral institution, seen as a rival to the
Western-dominated World Bank and Asian Development Bank, was
initially opposed by the United States but attracted many U.S.
allies including Britain, Germany, Australia and South Korea as
Japan and the United States are the most prominent countries
not represented in the bank.
"This is really for us, as a new government, the earliest
possibility at which we could indicate our interest," Canadian
Finance Minister Bill Morneau said in response to a question why
Canada was only applying to join the bank now.
"We believe the bank is clearly showing that it's going to
be a highly effective multilateral institution," he added.
Morneau is on a trip to China with Canadian Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau seeking to deepen ties with the world's
second-largest economy, a distinct change from former Prime
Minister Stephen Harper's more cautious approach to China.
"The Canadians' decision to join this bank will greatly
strengthen the management of this institution," AIIB President
Jin Liqun told reporters.
"We can see that the U.S.'s attitude towards AIIB is showing
signs of changing, as it's encouraging the World Bank to
cooperate more with the AIIB," Jin added.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Air
Force One on Wednesday that U.S. and Canadian officials had been
in touch on the issue. "We know that Canada shares our views
about the importance of transparency and good governance when it
comes to these kinds of international institutions," Earnest
Ultimately it will be a "good thing" if Canada joins the
AIIB, as it advocates for such governance, he added. Earnest
said he was not aware of any U.S. plans to join the
Canada will submit its application to join the AIIB by the
end of September 2016, said Daniel Lauzon, a Canadian Finance
(Reporting by Yawen Chen and Sue-Lin Wong; Additional reporting
by Roberta Rampton on Air Force One and Timothy Gardner in
Washington; Writing by Sue-Lin Wong; Editing by Simon
Cameron-Moore and Peter Cooney)