Europe, U.S. division over China-led bank

(BVO) – A new clash between the U.S. and China in the bid for influence in fast growing Asia.

Beijing has taken the lead in jump-starting a new government-funded infrastructure bank – the AIIB – recently gaining the support of traditional U.S. ally Great Britain for the 50-billion dollar project.

Now, according to a media report, other European nations such as France, Italy and Germany are signing up too.

Australia also hinting it wants to join.

The West has long dominated infrastructure lending in the region through the Philippines-based Asian Development Bank and the World Bank in Washington.

Telecommunications, roads and other investments are key for major companies doing trade in smaller nations such as Myanmar and Bangladesh.

The Obama administration has argued that western countries could have more influence over the new bank if they stayed outside, arguing that together they could push for better governance and standards.

But Europe wants to do business with China – the UK’s finance minister saying the bank was “an unrivalled opportunity for the UK and Asia to do business together.”

Now it looks likes the U.S. pivot to Asia has hit a fresh stumbling block.