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China Proposes an Infrastructure Bank for Asia

Daniel J. Mitterhoff

As reported at Economist.com on October 4, Chinese President Xi JinPing, in a speech before Indonesia’s parliament, has proposed the creation of an “infrastructure bank” to promote connectivity within developing Asia.  Such vision validates the mission of the China-Mekong Law Center, which believes in a critical need to train lawyers to guide cross-border development of the Greater Mekong Subregion.  For example, the Economist article highlights that the cost of a rail connection between Kunming, China and the Lao Capital, Vientiane, is estimated near the entire GDP of Laos, the country!  Consequently, legally trained professionals in project finance, with knowledge of the local landscape, are increasingly important for healthy regional development and connectivity.  As are lawyers well-trained in environmental protection; public participation in development decision-making; land-taking relocation and compensation issues; historical preservation and public procurement, all important pedagogical goals of the Lancang-Mekong International College of Law project.   Moreover, China-Mekong Law Center’s regional Public Procurement Law Initiative appreciates the impetus offered by President Xi’s vision.  Through this initiative, China-Mekong Law Center, with its partner Yunnan University Law School, seeks to promote transparency and best value in public purchasing throughout the Mekong Region.  By training law students and others to serve professionally to maintain openness, fairness and maximum competition in public infrastructure contract awards, China-Mekong may one day humbly take some small credit for the just and efficient use of monies from President Xi’s proposed infrastructure bank.