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Taiwan's steel, cement firms have high hopes for AIIB

Taiwan's steel, cement firms have high hopes for AIIB

Taipei, April 3 (CNA) Local steel and cement sectors on Friday expressed optimism that if Taiwan joins the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), they will benefit from business opportunities the bank will likely bring in terms of infrastructure projects in the region. Taiwanese steel makers said that the launch of infrastructure projects by the AIIB is expected to assuage the impact of weak demand in the world's steel market, while Taiwan-based cement suppliers said that they expect to gain access to the Southeast Asian market through the AIIB. The bank, which was formally initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2014, is part of China's efforts to create new financial and economic institutions to boost its international influence. The AIIB is expected to rival the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank, led by the West and Japan. The AIIB is set to be initially capitalized at US$50 billion, with China expected to inject 50 percent of the funds. It is aimed at bolstering regional integration and connectivity through the bank's "One Belt, One Road" initiative, which spans Asia-Pacific and European economies encompassing 3.81 billion people and US$16.42 trillion in economic output. On March 31, the deadline for the AIIB to accept applications to join the group, Taiwan submitted its application, hoping to become one of the founding members of the bank. In response to criticism and concerns raised by opposition party legislators that joining the AIIB could indirectly boost China's clout and ultimately hurt Taiwan's cause, the government said that joining the AIIB is in the country's interest economically. It argued being included as one of the bank's founding members will help it join other regional or international economic groupings. Huang Hsiao-hsin, secretary general of the Taiwan Steel & Iron Industries Association (??????), said that China, one of the largest steel makers in the world, has been suffering a supply glut, but the presence of the AIIB to push for infrastructure projects in the region is expected to boost steel demand and reduce the impact of oversupply in the global market. Huang said that a delegation of his association will visit the China Iron and Steel Association (??????) at the end of April to exchange views in a wide range of issues, including the possible investment projects to be initiated by the AIIB. Taiwan-based China Steel Corp.'s (??) Executive Vice President Lin Hung-nan said that he is upbeat about the prospects of the steel market after the presence of the AIIB since the efforts to build metro systems and railways in Southeast Asia are expected to create plenty of business opportunities for the local steel industry. Taiwan Cement Corp. (??) said that the AIIB is expected to help the company extend its reach to the Southeast Asian market by sending its production from China to the region to solve oversupply problems on the mainland. Currently, Taiwan Cement runs a broad production base in China's Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou and Sichuan. (By Wei Shu and Frances Huang)

Updated : 2021-09-21 07:05 GMT+08:00