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Episode Info

Episode Info:

Launched by China in June 2015, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ("AIIB") currently has eighty-six members and, with $100 billion in capital, has lent around $4 billion to infrastructure projects throughout Asia. The AIIB's very creation is an important marker in China's economic and strategic rise over the past forty years, from a poor country that was entirely outside of the Bretton Woods financial system, to the largest borrower from the World Bank, and now, to the creator of a competitor institution designed to address some of the World Bank's deficiencies. In this episode, the inaugural general counsel of the AIIB, Natalie Lichtenstein, discusses with Neysun Mahboubi the background and early history of the Bank, informed by her distinguished thirty-year career in the legal department of the World Bank, where she advised on lending operations in China from their inception. The episode was recorded on January 23, 2018.

Natalie Lichtenstein was chief counsel for the establishment of the AIIB, and the principal drafter for its Charter, before serving as the Bank's inaugural general counsel. She has just published a new book with Oxford University Press, A Comparative Guide to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is the most comprehensive account of the AIIB thus far. Earlier in her career, she served in the legal department of the World Bank for thirty years, including as Chief Counsel for East Asia. Before that, as a junior attorney in the U.S. Treasury Department, she worked on legal issues related to normalization of relations between the U.S. and China. She has taught Chinese law as an adjunct professor since the 1980s, most recently at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Music credit: "Salt" by Poppy Ackroyd, follow her at 

Special thanks to Kaiser Kuo and Nick Marziani

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