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“Crossing the River by Feeling the Gold”: The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Financial Support to the Belt and Road Initiative
2017-09-06 16:28:00

China & World Economy / 23–45, Vol. 25, No. 5, 2017


“Crossing the River by Feeling the Gold”: The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
and the Financial Support to the Belt and Road Initiative

Giuseppe Gabusi


Abstract

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is, above all, a connectivity project. As connectivity requires financial support, in the past few years China has undertaken several institution-building activities at the national and international level, mainly in the financial and economic sector, showing a new propensity to influence global economic governance. In particular, the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has drawn attention worldwide. How does this institution-building process connect with BRI? Are these institutions just a vehicle for exporting China’s capital and overcapacity, or do they signal a potential wider challenge to the post-World War II liberal international order? By analyzing the first loans approved by the bank, the present paper argues that far from representing a China-led challenge to the Western-led liberal order, the AIIB, while promoting Chinese commercial and geopolitical interests, shows the resilience of the global financial regime created by the West.


Key words: Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Belt and Road Initiative, China, international economic order
JEL codes: F02, F55, F63