Cash to come with conditions

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 June, 2012, 12:00am


China is expected to show its commitment to injecting resources into the International Monetary Fund to help Europe in the G20 summit in Mexico, but the contribution will come with a condition - that emerging markets are better represented in the IMF, analysts say.

The two-day summit, which begins today in Los Cabos, will largely focus on the lingering euro-zone crisis. But China and other emerging markets do not want Europe to dominate the agenda, and are expecting its push to give less-developed nations greater presence on the IMF will run into resistance by advanced economies that do not want to cede voting power.

President Hu Jintao, in a written interview with Reforma, a major Mexican newspaper, prior to the summit, urged members of the Group of 20 to continue to advance the reform of the international financial system and 'speedily' meet the target of IMF quota and governance reform.

'We should continue to give high priority to development and promote growth of developing countries so as to increase total global demand,' he said yesterday.

Much of the focus during the previous G20 Summit in Cannes, France, was on whether China would help bail out Europe, although Hu said resolving the crisis largely depended on the Europeans.

Analysts said G20 leaders were more likely to be concerned about recent data from China showing a slowdown in the economy, but they would still expect Beijing to make a commitment to Europe. Hu has expressed confidence that his country will maintain steady and robust growth, thereby making a contribution to global economic growth.

Speaking in an interview with the South China Morning Post and a Chinese newspaper, Deputy Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said emerging markets and advanced economies were contributing to global economic development, but there was a disparity between the two groups' representation on international finance boards. He expressed hope the IMF could complete its reforms of its quota system that members had agreed upon in 2010.

The reforms will give major emerging market economies greater say in how the fund is managed by handing them more voting power in the fund's decisions. China is set to become the third-largest member country of the IMF.

In 2010, the IMF's executive board passed a quota reform plan, which if completed could raise China's quota to more than 6 per cent from the current 3.72 per cent, giving it a greater say at the fund.

However, implementation of the reforms has been delayed as some countries, including the US, have not yet ratified the proposal.

Ding Chun, an expert in European affairs at Fudan University, said China would continue to help Europe as it did not want the US dollar to be the sole dominant currency, and any collapse of European economies would significantly hurt China's trade.

However, Ding said China would not make contributions if the Europeans failed to devise a robust strategy to bolster economic growth, or did not ensure China's voice was better heard. 'The contributions China will make will be based on its representation in the IMF, in addition to other factors, such as whether the money will be well-spent,' he said.

China, which had previously said it would not take part in internationally agreed assistance, has supported Europe in several ways: buying sovereign bonds, giving money to the European Financial Stability Facility (which is to be replaced by the European Stability Mechanism), and allocating funds to the IMF.

But Beijing has never made public how much it has injected to the IMF, with officials saying Beijing would specify the amount contributions when it was ready.

Gregory Chin, China Research Chair at the Canadian-based Centre for International Governance Innovation, said Beijing did not want the summit to be overshadowed by the euro crisis as had happened at the Cannes summit. China would like to push forward discussion on assisting developing countries and devise a plan for strong global economic growth.

'They are looking for an opportunity to better present their views by linking the issue of increased contributions to the IMF to the pre-condition of increasing the voices of the developing nations.'

However, Ding Yifan, a researcher at the Development Research Centre at the State Council, said China did not set pre-conditions for helping Europe. Beijing was aware the IMF's quota reform would take time. He said China was looking forward to co-ordinating with other G20 members on macroeconomic policy to tackle the crisis.

China is likely to face resistance from advanced economies by championing the cause of developing nations.

'The US, though it does not want Europe to collapse, will not give up its leading role in the IMF just for China to make more contributions,' Ding Chun said.