The majority of those who took part in the consultation procedure stressed the important role that the AIIB is likely to play in promoting sustainable economic development and combatting poverty in Asia. Furthermore, Switzerland's involvement in the bank strengthens the country's relations with China and with the Asian region as a whole, which in turn opens up the prospect of new opportunities for Swiss businesses. There was criticism on the part of some respondents regarding the quality of the AIIB's future environmental and social standards, its influence on Asia's development and the (partial) compensation of spending on international cooperation.
After studying the results of the consultation and having incorporated the necessary amendments, the Federal Council approved the Dispatch and the relevant draft federal decrees. An analysis of the responses to the consultation showed that no significant changes needed to be made to the planned approach.
Switzerland plans to contribute USD 706.4 million in capital towards the new bank, which would grant it 0.8745 per cent of the voting rights. In so doing, the Federal Council will have reached a further milestone towards ratification of the AIIB's Articles of Agreement. The Dispatch will be debated in Parliament in the winter session. By making progress in the ratification process, Switzerland will be able to participate in the process of setting up the bank. It also reaffirms its intention to play an active role in the functioning of the bank so it is best placed to make the case for its position.
The Articles of Agreement come into force as soon as at least ten signatories, with initial subscriptions totalling no less than 50% of all initial subscriptions, have deposited their instruments of ratification. This is expected to be the case by the end of 2015 or early 2016 at the latest.
The purpose of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is to promote sustainable and stable growth in Asia, in particular by financing infrastructure projects of key importance for the region. Switzerland signed the Articles of Agreement on 29 June.
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Fabian Maienfisch, SECO Communication
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