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Australia to Become 6th Largest Shareholder in AIIB

FILE - Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks to the media during a press conference at the conclusion of the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia.

Australia says it will become a founding member of a Chinese-led Asian regional bank and its sixth largest shareholder.

A government statement said on Wednesday that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank presented Australia with great opportunities to work with its neighbors and largest trading partner, China, to drive economic growth and jobs.

The bank is expected to be operating by the end of the year.

The statement says Australia will contribute around 930 million Australian dollars ($720 million) as paid-in capital to the AIIB over five years and will be the sixth largest shareholder.

The U.S. government had objected that the bank would undercut existing institutions such as the World Bank and might allow looser lending standards.