AMSTERDAM, March 28 — The Netherlands intends to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Prime Minister Mark Rutte said today, becoming the latest US ally to seek membership in the China-led institution despite Washington’s misgivings.
Rutte announced the decision on his official Facebook page during a visit to China and after a meeting with President Xi Jinping.
“There is a great shortage of financing for infrastructure in Asia,” Rutte said.
“An investment bank such as the AIIB can meet this demand, and the Netherlands has much expertise in this area.”
The United States had warned against the new institution, but after Britain announced it would join, European allies France, Germany and Italy quickly followed suit this month. South Korea has said it will join, while Japan is still deciding.
The AIIB has been seen as a challenge to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, and a significant setback to US efforts to extend its influence in the Asia Pacific region to balance China’s growing financial clout and assertiveness.
Rutte said joining is in the Netherlands’ interests as a trading nation, and said he hoped it would ultimately create jobs.
The Netherlands is home to a disproportionately large number of international construction companies, including many with a focus on dredging and maritime construction such as Boskalis, VolkerWessels, Ballast Nedam, Van Oord and BAM, among others. — Reuters