The World Bank on Thursday said that its board adopted a new plan to aid China with US$1 billion to US$1.5 billion in low-interest loans annually through June 2025, despite the objections of US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and several US lawmakers.
The US Treasury’s representative on the board had objected on to the plan on Wednesday, Mnuchin told a US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee hearing, adding that he wants the World Bank to “graduate” China from its concessional loan programs for low and middle-income countries.
The five-year lending strategy plan was published on Thursday afternoon after the World Bank’s board “expressed broad support” for the multilateral development lender’s engagement in China’s structural and environmental reforms.
The World Bank said its lending would decline over the “country partnership framework” plan, in line with reforms agreed on under a US$13 billion capital increase agreed to last year.
The World Bank loaned China US$1.3 billion in the fiscal 2019 year ended June 30, down from about US$2.4 billion in fiscal 2017. The new plan calls for lending to “gradually decline” from the previous five-year average of US$1.8 billion.
“Lending levels may fluctuate up and down from year to year due to normal pipeline management based on project readiness,” the World Bank said in its plan.
Beijing had requested continued financing from the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development division “as platforms for reform, institution building and knowledge transfer,” it said.
Mnuchin has argued that China is too wealthy for such international aid when it is lending hundreds of billions of dollars of its own to poor countries through its Belt and Road Infrastructure drive.
US lawmakers are also increasingly expressing concerns that US taxpayer funds loaned through the World Bank to China will enable human rights abuses and unfair economic competition with the US.
In US Senate floor remarks on Thursday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley cited alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang associated with detention camps for Muslim Uighurs in criticizing the World Bank lending plan.
“The World Bank, using American tax dollars, should not be lending to wealthy countries that violate the human rights of their citizens and attempt to dominate weaker countries either militarily or economically,” Grassley said.
US Representative Anthony Gonzalez, who has introduced legislation to curb World Bank funding to China, said: “For me, even a dollar is too much for our taxpayers to be contributing to China.”
Although the US hold an effective veto power over major board decisions such as capital increases and leadership appointments, the latest China lending plan did not require a formal vote.
Mnuchin told lawmakers he expected the World Bank’s lending to China to fall below US$1 billion during the current fiscal year, with more repayment funds flowing back to the lender from China than loan funds going out.
The World Bank said the lending to China in the five-year plan would be aimed at advancing market and fiscal reforms to encourage private-sector development; promoting greener growth by reducing pollution and reducing carbon emissions; and increasing Chinese citizens’ access to health and social services.
Softbank Group Corp plans to keep a stake in the chip designer Arm Ltd, even if it sells a partial interest to Nvidia Corp, the Nikkei reported. The companies are negotiating terms, the newspaper reported, citing sources. Softbank might take a stake in Nvidia after it buys Arm, the report said. Nvidia and Arm might also merge through a share swap, and Softbank would become a major shareholder in the combined company, it said. The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the
END TO SPECULATION: The hotel’s management contract has been extended, despite reports that it wanted to end its alliance with Hyatt Hotels over a deal with Riant Capital Singapore-based Hong Leong Hotel Development Ltd (豐隆大飯店股份) yesterday said it has extended a management contract to ensure the continued presence of the Grand Hyatt brand in Taipei, ending rumors that the two sides were parting ways. “We are pleased Hyatt is able to come to terms on the extension of the management contract of Grand Hyatt Taipei,” said Kwek Leng Beng (郭令明), executive chairman of City Developments Ltd (城市發展) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Ltd (千禧國敦酒店). Hong Leong Hotel Development is a subsidiary of Millennium, and both fall under the Hong Leong Group (豐隆集團). The Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), owned and built by
MOVING FROM CHINA? The article did not name the company, but Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron were among firms chosen for a production-linked incentive plan in India An Apple Inc vendor is looking at shifting six production lines to India from China, which could result in US$5 billion of iPhone exports from the South Asian nation, the Times of India reported, citing people familiar with the matter who it did not identify. The establishment of the facility would create about 55,000 jobs over about a year, the newspaper reported, not naming the Apple vendor. It would also cater to the domestic market and expand operations to include tablets and laptops, the newspaper reported. Samsung Electronics Co and Apple’s assembly partners are among 22 companies that have pledged 110 billion
’WHITE BOX’: The open platform would give local firms access to Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop 5G telecom equipment and tap into the global market The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market. The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said. The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB