September 22, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) questioned Ashok Michael Pinto, President Trump’s nominee to be the United States alternate executive director of the World Bank’s lending arm, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Barrasso pressed Pinto on the World Bank’s anti-fossil fuels policies, China’s predatory lending, and the World Bank using American tax dollars to lend to China.
Pinto testified at today’s Senate Committee on Foreign Relations nomination hearing.
On All of the Above Energy Strategy:
“First, I want to talk about an all of the above energy strategy.
“Global philanthropist Bill Gates explains that: ‘Increasing access to electricity is critical to lifting the world’s poor out of poverty.’
“Worldwide, there are just short of a billion people who are today living without electricity.
“They can’t cook or heat their homes safely, can’t do it reliably.
“Nearly three billion people still rely on wood and waste for household energy.
“People living in poor and developing nations, they want and need a stable energy supply. It’s about energy today for them.
“They are looking for power generation that provides energy security, it helps create jobs, and it improves their lives—their lives today.
“I believe traditional fuels are a vital tool to help people escape poverty.
“Yet, over the past few years, the World Bank has been imposing restrictions on the financing of traditional energy projects.
“Last year, I led a dozen senators in a letter urging the World Bank to immediately lift these harmful restrictions.
“My letter, of course, was to World Bank President David Malpass. It was co-signed by Senators Boozman, Capito, Cotton, Cramer, Cruz, Enzi, Hoeven, Johnson, Kennedy, Murkowski and Thune.
“Together we pressed the bank to recommit to an all-of-the-above energy strategy.
“To achieve its mission, the World Bank really, I believe, must embrace, not exclude, affordable energy resources.
“Ultimately, the solution to energy poverty doesn’t lie in limiting options but in using all available options.
“If confirmed, will you commit to ensuring the World Bank is promoting all forms of energy projects across the globe, including oil, gas and coal?
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso Question Mr. Pinto on an All of the Above Energy Strategy
On China’s Predatory Lending:
“I want to turn to China’s predatory lending.
“Through the Belt and Road Initiative, the Chinese Communist Party offers countries the ability to borrow a lot of money for infrastructure projects.
“The problem is that these countries accumulate large amounts of debt to China, they are unable to pay it back, while still not achieving the development gains many are seeking.
“Unable to escape the massive debt that’s owed to China, countries face default or the forfeiture of strategic assets and their natural resources, we’ve seen this happen around the globe.
“On top of this financial pressure, some countries are now facing the economic hardships that have been caused by the coronavirus.
“To me, this is a tragic recipe.
“What actions do you believe the World Bank should take, and how would you ensure American taxpayers are not bailing out Chinese financial intuitions and further enabling China’s predatory lending policies?
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso Question Mr. Pinto on China's Predatory Lending
On World Bank Lending to China:
“China is the second largest economy in the world.
“As you point out, China still receives below market rates for projects financed with loans from the World Bank.
“In December of 2019, the World Bank approved a new plan to provide China with between $1 billion to $1.5 billion in low-interest loans annually through June 2025.
“This is happening while the Chinese Communist Party, through its Belt and Road Initiative, is engaged in predatory lending practices that we just described.
“I am seriously concerned about the World Bank using American tax dollars to loan money to China while China is engaged in debt trap diplomacy in developing countries across the globe.
“So I appreciate your attention to that and your commitment to making sure that declines. I would like to have that decline in a rapid way.”
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s statement on World Bank Lending to China