2016-08-31 22:48:22 Xinhua Web Editor: Zhang Guanghao
Canada has decided to apply for membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced at a press conference in Beijing Wednesday.
If Canada joins the AIIB, it will be the first North American member of the multilateral bank.
Canada's membership will contribute significantly to the bank's development, AIIB president Jin Liqun told the press conference, noting that all countries interested in the AIIB were welcome to apply for membership.
"The decision of Canada to apply to join AIIB is very welcome and shows its confidence in the strong foundations the bank has built in our first few months," Jin said.
In a press release, Canada's Department of Finance said the AIIB will help sustain growth in Asia and represents an opportunity for Canada to further engage in multilateral infrastructure efforts that support inclusive economic growth in Asia and beyond.
"Canada is always looking for ways to create hope and opportunity for our middle class as well as for people around the world, and membership in the AIIB is an opportunity to do just that," Morneau said.
The AIIB, a not-for-profit bank initiated by China, was officially established last December and started operating in January.
With authorized capital of 100 billion U.S. dollars and 57 founding members, it prioritizes investment in energy, power, transport, rural infrastructure, environmental protection and logistics.
China is now Canada's second largest trading partner. The trade between the two countries amounted to over 67 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, a 10.1 percent increase year on year, according to Canadian statistics.