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AIIB’s 1st CNM Nov 28 . Assistance from 2016

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Staff Reporter The first Chief Negotiator's Meeting (CNM) of the recently launched China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will he held on November 28 in Kunming with representatives from Bangladesh and 20 other founding-member countries participating in it. "The CNM is likely to discuss the framing of AIIB’s Article of Agreement (AoA) and the appointment of its Chief Counsel," Economic Relations Division (ERD) said. The AIIB received the name of former Chief Lawyer of the World Bank Natalie Lichtenstein as its probable Chief Counsel. “Once appointed, the Chief Counsel will help frame the Article of Agreement (AoA) of the bank.” The World Bank Head Office and the WB country director for Mongolia, China and Korea have nominated the name of Natalie Lichtenstein. A two-member Bangladesh delegation, led by ERD Additional Secretary Asif-uz-Zaman, will leave here for Kunming on November 27 to join the first CNM of the AIIB billed for November 28. He said the CNM meeting will also discuss the work plan of the Bank as well the necessary formalities to frame the draft Article of Agreement (AoA) to be placed at the second meeting of the CNM. Asif uz Zaman will act as the Chief Negotiator for Bangladesh while ERD Deputy Secretary Dr AKM Matiur Rahman as the Alternate Chief Negotiator. The ERD senior official said that the AIIB is expected to launch its formal operations by the end of 2015 while Bangladesh may get assistance from the Bank by 2016. Sources at the ERD said the government has already formed a seven-member steering committee headed by ERD Additional Secretary Asif uz Zaman as its convener to examine the MoU and other related aspects of the AIIB. The Terms of Reference of the committee is to examine the MoU of the AIIB, capital distribution (sponsor share, regional share, non-regional share), put forward recommendation about the retaining of possible shares of the Bank by Bangladesh as its founding member. Earlier, on October 24, 21 Asian countries, including Bangladesh, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on establishing the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with three major countries skipping the event. State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan signed the MoU on behalf of Bangladesh. Australia, Indonesia and South Korea skipped the launching ceremony as the United States said it had concerns about the new rival to Western-dominated multilateral lenders. China's proposed $50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is seen as a challenge to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, both multilateral lenders that count Washington and its allies as their biggest financial backers. China, which is keen to extend its influence in the region, has limited voting power over these existing banks despite being the world's second-largest economy. The AIIB, launched in Beijing at a ceremony attended by Chinese finance minister Lou Jiwei and delegates from 21 countries including India, Thailand and Malaysia, aims to give project loans to developing nations. China is set to be its largest shareholder with a stake of up to 50 percent.