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Inter-American Development Bank

(Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo - BID)

2000/11/15
Overview: Inter-American Development Bank is a special body of the America States Organization also called the Pan America Development Bank, whose establishment experienced ups and downs. Early at the 1st (from October 1889 to April 1890) and the 2nd (from October 1901 to March 1902) American international meetings, the proposals were put forward for discussions to establish an Inter-American Development Bank. In 1939, the first foreign ministers consultative meeting of the American countries made the decision to set up the "Pan America Economic and Financial Consultative Committee". This committee, according to the requirements of the foreign ministers consultative meeting, and later the first meeting of ministers of economy and finance of the American countries, drafted the agreement for establishing the "Bank of America" and the rules and regulations for organizing the bank. As the signatories and the shares purchased failed to reach the amount as required by the regulations, and moreover, after World II, the USA held that there already existed a world bank and it was not necessary to set up another regional bank, the agreement failed to take effect. The 9th American international conference in 1948 and the meeting of ministers of economy and finance of the American countries in 1954 entrusted the Pan America Economic and social Commission to study again the possibility of establishing a Pan America Bank, yet the USA was still against it. With the strong demand by the Latin American countries, the first economic meeting of the American countries convened in 1957 published the "Buenos Aires Declaration", calling for swift drafting the regulations and agreement for the Pan America Bank. On 8 April 1959, the 20 member countries of the America States Organization (except Cuba) signed the new agreement and regulations in Washington, which took effect on 30 December of the same year. On 1 October 1960, the "Pan America Development Bank" started its business and in October of the same year it was formally opened to operation.

Aim: "Pooling together the joint forces of all member states to provide funds and technical aids to the plan for economic and social development of the Latin American countries", and assisting them to "make contributions either individually or collectively for speeding up the economic development and social progress".

Members: According to the original regulations, only the member states of the American States Organizations who are in a position to join it. But in May 1972, the 13th annual meeting of the Pan America Development Bank made some amendments to the regulations, stipulating that other countries were also allowed to be members of it. However, the non-Latin American countries were not allowed to use the capital of the bank, but the participation in bidding the projects of the organization. At present, the organization has 46 member countries, which include 28 countries in America: Argentina, Barbados, the Bahamas, Paraguay, Panama, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Dominica, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Salvador, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala, Venezuela, Uruguay, Jamaica, Chile, Belize, Canada, the USA; the 16 countries in Europe: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Britain, Croatia and Slovenia; and the two countries in Asia: Japan and Israel.

Organizational structure: 1. The Council: the supreme organ of authority, which is composed of the council members, one from each member country with its meeting to be held once every year. The council members are usually the ministers of economy and finance, presidents of the central banks or others holding the similar posts of the member countries. 2. The Executive Board of Directors: a permanent body under the leadership of the council. It consists of 14 directors, of whom 9 are from the Latin American countries and the USA, Canada and Japan each having one director and the other two being from other countries to form the Board and their terms of office is three years. 3. President and Vice-president: led by the executive board of directors, they are in charge of the daily routine work. The executive board of directors elects President, with his terms of office being five years, and appoints Vice President. 4. Branches: its branch offices are set up in the capital cities of the member countries of Latin America and in Paris and London. 5. Bodies of Investment: the Inter-American Investment Corporation (Corporación Interamericana de Inversión) was set up in1989. It mainly serves those medium and small enterprises, which are not easy to get loans. The Multilateral Investment Fund (Fondo Multilateral de Inversión): it was established in 1993 and its main objective is to promote the development of private industries and to create a better environment for their investments. 6. The Institution for the Latin American Integration: Established in 1964, it is stationed in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. It is to foster and train high technical personnel, study important economic, judicial and social issues, and offer advice to its member countries.

leading personnel: the present president is Enrique Iglesias, from Uruguay and assumed the post on 1 April 1988, and his predecessor is Antionio Ortiz Mena, who is a Mexican.

Headquarters: It is stationed in Washington and it has its branches in the member states of Latin America and in Paris and Tokyo.

Publications: Annual Report, published in English in the USA; Integration of Latin America, a monthly magazine published in Spanish in Argentina.

Bank Capital Resources: 1. shared by all member countries; 2. provided by the members of the developed countries; 3. issuing bonds in the world capital market or other relevant countries. In 1960, the bank had a capital of US$ 813 million when it was opened to business. In 1970, it increased to US$ 3,150 million. On 30 June 1979 it owned a capital amounting to US$ 188.97 billion. In 1987, it had an increased capital of US$ 436.86 billion; and by the end of 1992 the capital increased to US$ 54.1 billion, of which the USA occupied 34.6 %, and Argentina and Brazil, each having a proportion of 11.6%. At the 35th annual meeting held in 1994, the general quota of capital increase was set for US$ 40 billion (brought to an end on 31 July 1995). At present the rectified capital shares of the bank amounts to US$ 101 billion.

Major Activities: to provide loans for promoting economic development in Latin America, help the member countries to develop trade, and offer technical cooperation to the preparations, arrangements and implementations of all kinds of development plans and projects so as to push ahead the economic integration in Latin America. The bank capital is divided into two types: one is general capital, which is expected to be used to provide loans for state or private owned enterprises in Latin America with its annual interest rate set at 8%, and the for a loan period lasts 10 - 25 years. The other is special business funds, which is mainly used for the projects aiming at developing economy in those underdeveloped Latin American countries with the annual loan interest set at 1 - 4 % for a period of 20 - 40 years. In addition, the bank has in its hands the "Latin American Development Funds" provided by the governments of the USA, Canada, Britain, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Venezuela and Vatican.

The right to vote is decided by the capital shares pooled in by each member country. Before 1974, the right to vote owned by the USA occupied more than 40%, and up to June 30, 1979, the votes owned by the USA still came to 34.87%. And since 1979, though most of the member states unanimously agreed to increase in principle the amount of US$ 9,250 millions of the bank capital, it failed due to the opposition from the USA. Up to 1984, the USA occupied 34.54% votes, the Latin American countries a total of 54.17%, Canada 4.5%, and other countries 6.67%. Up to 1991, the right to vote is as follows: 34.66% for the USA, 53.76% for the Latin American countries, 4.38% for Canada and 7.2% for the remaining members in other regions. On 31 December 1998, the shares held by the USA still came to 30.531% (According to the revised agreement for the America Development Bank, the biggest shareholder of the bank should own over 30 % of its shares).

In 1981, the 22nd annual meeting was held in Madrid. At the meeting, many member countries expressed the view that they did not like the USA to share more of the bank capital but they did hope that it would pay back the capital shares it owed. They were also opposed to the US practice that it used the bank to serve its own diplomatic policy.

In 1982, the bank provided a loan, totaling US$ 2,750 million to the Latin American countries.

In February 1983, the 6th meeting of the executive board of directors held in Washington reached an agreement on the increase of its capital. During the period from 1983-1986, it increased US$ 15,700 million of the bank capital, which had already reached the amount of 20,000 million before the meeting. In March, the 24th annual meeting was held in Panama city, at which President Antonio Oritiz Mena called for an "harmonized economic development plan" to be practiced by the Latin American countries. In 1983, the bank provided for the Latin American countries a loan of US$ 3,450 million, an increase of 11% than that of the previous year.

In March 1984, the 25th annual meeting held in Uruguay, discussed the foreign debts owed by the Latin American countries. According to its annual report, the accumulated foreign debts of the Latin American countries had reached US$ 336 billion by the end of 1983 and the yearly payment of the capital and interest amounted to US$ 66 billion. In November of the same year, the 34 member states reached an agreement on the to setting up of an American Investment Corporation and on financing the first sum of capital reaching 200 million US dollars, which were expected to go to spuring up establishing, expanding and transforming the medium and small enterprises so as to promote economic development of the member states in this region. In 1984, the loans granted to the Latin America Region reached an amount of 3.567 billion US dollars.

In March 1985, the 26th annual meeting pointed out that the foreign debts entailed by the Latin American countries were a "challenge to the era", stressing that the Latin American countries should make efforts to give a fresh imptus to economic integration. The loans that were granted to the Latin American region reached 30 billion US dollars in 1985.

In March 1986, the 27th annual meeting laid its emphasis on the discussions of the problems relating to the economic development of the Latin American countries. At the meeting, 16 contracts of loans and 1 agreement on technical cooperation were signed, providing to 9 Latin American countries and 1 regional organization a total amount of 500 million US dollars. In April of the same year, the bank worked out a special program for its aid to the Central American countries, which was expected to promote the production, investment and export of these countries. In May, the bank held a second round of negotiations over the additional amount of capital for the year 1987 - 1990. In 1986, the bank granted a loan of 3.037 billion US dollars to the Latin American countries.

In March 1987, the 28th annual meeting re-elected the executive board of directors and mainly discussed the proposal brought forward by the USA that called for the changing of the bank's veto procedures. The USA would like to increase its capital shares in the bank to 75% of the total, provided that it could possess the ultimate right of decision for the loans granted from the bank. About this, President Oritiz pointed out that the USA proposal was "impractical in politics" and the meeting decided to keep the capital amount as that of 1986. The amount of loans granted to the Latin American countries in 1987 was 2.4 billion US dollars.

In March 1988, the 29th annual meeting discussed the expansion of the bank capital and other issues but failed to reach a specific agreement. The Latin American countries expressed their dissatisfaction with the USA, which attempted to change the bank's existing procedures for granting loans. The loans in 1988 were only 1.682 billion dollars.

In March 1989, the 30th annual meeting came to an agreement on the increase of the capital amounting to US$ 26.5 billion, thus putting an end to the internal antagonism and misunderstanding within the bank. The agreement paved the way for granting an amount of 22.5 billion US dollars loan to the Latin American countries within the period of 1990 - 1993. The agreement also vetoed the request of the USA that it wished to have the right of veto over the bank's loan issues. The loan granted to the Latin American area amounted to 2.6 billion US dollars in 1989.

In April 1990, the 31st annual meeting was held in Montreal, Canada.

In April 1991, the 32nd annual meeting was held in Nagoya, Japan. It mainly dealt with how to solve the debt problem confronted by the countries in Central and South Latin America. The USA proposed to establish a foundation to aid the countries in South and Central America, to which Japan claimed that it could provide an ?appropriate? amount of capital but the European Community held an inactive attitude.

In March 1992, the 33rd annual meeting was held in Santo Domingo, the capital of Dominica. Up to the end of 1992, the bank had granted the loan totaling 63 billion US dollars to the Latin American countries.

In March 1993, the 34th annual meeting took place in Hamburg, Germany. The bank's private investment in Latin America increased from 3.1 billion US dollars in 1984 to 21.1 billion US dollars. In 1993, the loans granted to the Central America reached 1 billion US dollars, which occupied 12 - 13% of the total sum provided by international financial organizations to the Central American countries.

In April 1994, the 35th annual meeting was held in Guadalajara, Mexico. At the meeting, the councilors of all member countries called the bank from now on to increase its investments in social departments of all the Latin American countries, to render giving more effective assistance in education, environment and poverty relief, etc. The meeting decided to carry out the policy of the eighth capital increase, namely in the coming six years to add US$ 40 billion more to the bank. The member states in Latin America decided to transfer part of their right of vote to Japan and some European countries so as to gain more capital for the bank. After the increase of the capital, the USA, Canada, the Latin America would respectively give up 4.6%, 0.37%, 3.8% capital shares whereas Japan's capital share would increase from 1% to 5% and the capital shares for Western European countries would increase from 6% to 11%. The member countries of the Pan America Organization also decided to allocate 1 billion US dollars as a special business fund. The meeting also made the decision to add two more director posts, which would be filled by Japan and Chile respectively. In December, the bank signed an agreement on the provision of the loan amounting to US$ 1.37 billions to the 10 countries in Latin America. In 1994, the bank granted a loan of US$ 1.0087 billion to Latin America to develop its educational program.

In April 1995, the 36th annual meeting was convened in Jerusalem, Israel, at which the role played by the bank in promoting the economic and social development in Latin America was highly appraised. It also discussed on the Mexico financial crisis and its impact over the Latin American countries. In 1995, the loan granted by the bank to the Latin American region amounted to 7.2 billion US dollars, an increase of 38% as against that of the previous year of 1994.

In March 1996, the 37th annual meeting took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The meeting held that the main tasks confronted by the Latin America countries were to speed up the pace in economic structural adjustment, recover economic development as rapidly as possible, solve the problems of unemployment and poverty, and deepen the reform of the financial system. E. Iglesias, President of the bank announced at the meeting that the bank would provide a loan of 2.5 billion US dollars to the seven Central American countries in the coming three years. On 30 October, the bank decided to provide Mexico, Argentina and Colombia with a respective loan of 700 million, 424 million and 94.56 million US dollars, in an effort to help these countries to optimize their conditions for agricultural production, build power-stations and to implement the reform of social assurance systems. The bank granted a loan amounting to 6.7 billion US dollars to the Latin America Region in 1996.

In March 1997, the 38th annual meeting was held in Barcelona, Spain, and 21 contracts for loans were signed at the meeting. It was decided to raise the proportion of loan granted to the poorest countries in Latin American region, an increase from 25% to that of 35%, and the rest 65% granted to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela, and other countries. Aside from that, the issue on how to promote the development of the medium and small-sized enterprises was also discussed, with the belief that this is where the vitality lies of the Latin American economic development in the future. In 1997, the bank provided the Latin American countries with a loan of 6 billion US dollars, which were to be mainly used for upgrading modernized administration and management, poverty relief, environmental protection, health and education, social welfare, and strengthening regional integration and loan to private units, etc.

In March 1998, the 39th annual meeting was held in Cartagena, Colombia. The meeting held that the Latin American countries should draw lessons from the financial crises in Southeast Asian countries. A stable and balanced macroeconomic policy, a healthy and well-managed financial system and effective supervision, stabilized domestic deposits, as well as enough attention to be paid to the balance-keeping of the short-term foreign debts and the fluidity of international reserves, and the strengthening of the Latin American integration were the important factors in preventing financial crisis, and ensuring the stability of the economy and finance in the region. From 10 - 11 December, the bank held an "international donors summit meeting" in Washington, decided to assist the reconstruction of the Central American countries, which suffered heavy losses inflicted by the "Miqi" cyclone. In 1998, the bank granted a loan of 10 billion US dollars (of which 3.3 billion US dollars were used for the social development programs) to the Latin American region, while there were only 254 million US dollars in 1961.

In March 1999, the 40th annual meeting was held in Paris, at which the impact the financial disturbances and serious natural calamities had upon the Latin American countries was discussed. The meeting was full of confidence in the future economic development of the Latin American region. It called on Latin American countries to strengthen further cooperation and promote the opening policy to the outside world, and encouraged the private units to take an active part in helping break away from the difficult plight. In addition, the meeting also discussed the elimination of inequality and the strengthening of education and so on.

The 41st annual meeting was held in New Orleans of the United States in March 2000.

Relations between China and the Organization: China attaches much importance to developing its relations with the American Development Bank. In September 1993, Zhu Rongji, Vice Premier and President of the People's Bank of China, on behalf of the Chinese Government, sent an official application to the executive authority of the bank for the membership of the American Development Bank, which won the support from some of the Latin American countries. The move is to open up a new channel for the economic and trade cooperation with the Latin America, and strengthen the bilateral friendly cooperation. At present, China has reached an agreement with the America Development Bank on establishing a cooperative fund worth of two million US dollars. But due to some difficulties in sharing out stocks, it is still necessary to do a lot of work before China joins the American Development Bank.

In April 1991, the Chinese delegation, with Bai Wenqing, Vice-president of the People's Bank of China as the head, attended as an observer the 32nd annual meeting, and up to 2000, at the invitation China has attended the meetings for nine consecutive years in the name of an observer.

Since the year 1991, Taiwan has also attended as an observer for consecutive ten years the 32nd-the 41st meetings in the name of "Taibei, China". In 1996, Taiwan sent an application for its membership of the America Development Bank. In December 1998, Taiwan, in the capacity of an observer, attended the "International Donors Meeting" held by the American Development Bank to help reconstruct the Central America. Zheng Bojiu, Deputy representative of Taiwan to the USA, and Luo Pingzhang, Secretary General of the "International Cooperation Development Fund", attended the meeting. They, on behalf of Taiwan authority, declared that they would not any more accept the name of "Taibei, China" to attend any activity of the America Development Bank.

In February 1994, E. Iglesias, president of the American Development Bank, was invited to pay a visit to China. Rong Yiren, Vice-President of the People's Republic of China and Vice-premier Zhu Rongji met with him respectively. In September 1995, Mrs Bodesai, the executive vice president of the bank to attended the 4th World Women's Congress in Beijing as head of the delegation and held talks with leading personnel from the People's Bank of China.

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