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Italy confirms intends to join China-led infrastructure bank

[ROME] Italy confirmed on Tuesday that it intended to join a new international development bank backed by China, alongside France and Germany.

The move to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), following the lead set by Britain, risks upsetting the United States, which has questioned the governance standards at the new institution.

However Italy said the European partners would push for an institution with high global standards.

"France, Italy and Germany, in close coordination with international and European partners, are keen to work with the AIIB founding members to establish an institution that follows the best standards and practices in terms of governance, safeguards, debt and procurement policies," the Treasury said in a statement.

The AIIB, seen as a rival to the Western-dominated World Bank and a major plank in spreading China's "soft power", was launched in Beijing last year to support investment in Asia in transport, energy, telecommunications and other infrastructure.