US Isolated, BRICS to Get Greater Voting Power at IMF

The US has been blocking this for years, now the IMF chief is looking for ways to move on without it

Sat, Dec 13, 2014
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President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff at the BRICS Summit in Brazil where the five countries launched a $100 billion new development bank in July 2014 [PPIO]
President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff at the BRICS Summit in Brazil where the five countries launched a $100 billion new development bank in July 2014 [PPIO]

This article originally appeared at The BRICS Post


Months after the formation of new financial institutions like the $100 billion BRICS Bank and the China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said Friday that the organization is ready to discuss IMF voting reforms without the United States to give BRICS and emerging countries greater voting power.

Lagarde said the IMF is disappointed with the US inaction to ratify the governance and quota reforms and will now move forward without Washington.

“The IMF’s membership has been calling on and was expecting the United States to approve the IMF’s 2010 Quota and Governance Reforms by year-end.

Adoption of the reforms remains critical to strengthen the Fund’s credibility, legitimacy, and effectiveness, and to ensure it has sufficient permanent resources to meet its members’needs,” Lagarde said in a statement.

“I have now been informed by the U.S. Administration that the reforms are not included in the budget legislation currently before the U.S. Congress.

I have expressed my disappointment to the U.S authorities and hope that they continue to work toward speedy ratification,” she said.

“As requested by our membership, we will now proceed to discuss alternative options for advancing quota and governance reforms and ensuring that the Fund has adequate resources, starting with an Executive Board meeting in January 2015,” she added.

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Earlier in September this year, in her opening address at the United Nations General Assembly, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff warned that international financial institutions are in danger of losing legitimacy if developing countries like BRICS are not given proper representation.

“It is also imperative to eliminate the disparity between the growing importance of developing countries in the global economy and their insufficient representation and participation in the decision-making processes of international financial institutions, such as the Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The delay in the expansion of voting rights of developing countries in these institutions is unacceptable,” Rousseff said.

“These institutions are in danger of losing legitimacy and efficiency,” she added.

The IMF reforms will hand more IMF voting powers to BRICS, a long-standing demand of the group and will also reduce the concentration of representative power of Western Europe at the IMF board.

China and other emerging economies, including BRICS, have long protested against their limited voice at global financial platforms, including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank.

The IMF quota reform calls for a 6 per cent shift in quota share to emerging economies. It will lift China, which still has less voting power than the Benelux countries (Belgium, Holland and Luxemburg), to the third largest shareholder. Shares for Russia, India and Brazil will also see hefty rise.

The reforms, however, have been delayed for four years owing to a block by the US Congress as the US retains a veto. IMF chief Lagarde hinted at a “Plan B” in April if the US fails to endorse the reforms by year-end.

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