Jan. 25 (UPI) — An increasing number of African, European and Latin American states are setting their sights on membership in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, as U.S. President Donald Trump is taking steps to repeal existing trade agreements with Mexico and the Asia-Pacific.
The Financial Times reported 25 more countries are seeking membership in the AIIB, a development that is encouraging Beijing to push forward as the front-runner on economic globalization.
In early January, Chinese President Xi Jinping had warned an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos of the perils of economic protectionism.
Beijing has also been promoting its free trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, as a competitor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral trade agreement from which Trump withdrew U.S. participation this week.
AIIB president Jin Liqun told FT the boost in membership could help the $100 billion bank and China’s standing in the global economy.
“Now that China has developed, it is our turn to contribute,” Jin said.
New potential members include Ireland, Canada, Ethiopia and Sudan, according to the report.
The AIIB also has not ruled out U.S. or Japanese participation.
“The door is open to others, and though we are not soliciting their membership, they can come to us,” said AIIB vice president Sir Danny Alexander.
The increased interest in AIIB comes as Trump is following through on his pledges to restrict trade.
According to a Goldman Sachs analysis released last week, Trump’s policies may primarily target China, but other countries in the region, including South Korea and Taiwan, could be adversely affected by U.S. import cuts.
“China has the highest production multiplier [at three times], but Taiwan and South Korea would have the most negative economic impact due to their greater reliance on trade,” the analysis read, according to CNBC.