Economies in Asia set sights on IMF roles
ASIA’S fast-rising economies set their sights on securing key International Monetary Fund appointments under new chief Christine Lagarde yesterday, hoping she will be the one to make good on oft-heard pledges to give more power to emerging markets.
On her recent campaign-trail tour of Asia, Lagarde acknowledged that countries such as China and India deserved IMF voting power commensurate with their growing economic clout, and a fair shot at the emergency lending institution’s top decisionmaking posts.
“Lagarde is a friend of India,” a senior Indian government source said. “We can’t get the IMF managing director’s chair for now but at least India can get some high-level appointments in the IMF during her tenure and we will work towards that.”
Lagarde begins her five-year term as managing director of the IMF on July 5.
High on her to- do list will be appointing a top leadership which fairly reflects global economic influence, and shepherding through an already agreed process to reallocate voting rights to give emerging markets a greater say.
China’s central bank said in a statement that it hoped Lagarde would push for reform, and wanted to see the IMF play a positive role in promoting global financial stability “and to increase the representation of emerging economies in the IMF governance structure.”
Lagarde received support from many major Asian economies even though she perpetuates a pattern they despise of Europeans holding the top IMF job.
The United States is already considering putting forward a Treasury Department official for the No. 2 role, which has traditionally been filled by an American.
Breaking with that tradition might help convince Asian countries that Lagarde is serious about reforming the IMF, although there was no indication she hasmade any promises to award the role to someone from Asia.