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IMF Reform Plan's Passage Appears Likely - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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SINGAPORE, (AP) – Passage of a proposal to reform the voting structure of the 184-nation International Monetary Fund appeared likely Monday despite opposition from several member countries.

IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato said Sunday he saw “broad consensus” in favor of a plan to boost the voting shares and quotas, or financial commitments, of China, South Korea, Turkey and Mexico to reflect their growing importance in the global economy.

At a later stage, the IMF — which fosters global economic stability and can offer emergency loans to members in crisis — plans to recalculate the quotas for all countries.

“I am very encouraged by what I have heard in the committee,” de Rato said Sunday. “I see there is a broad consensus to move forward with the quota reform.”

The proposal needs to win 85 percent of IMF members’ votes to pass. The vote deadline is Monday afternoon and results will be announced at some point after that.

While virtually all members see a need for reform, several major developing countries — particularly India, Brazil and Argentina — say they are against the two-part plan for various reasons.

Argentina and Brazil want to see their voting share increased quickly, while India believes the fund should overhaul the quota calculation system once, not in the proposed two steps.

These nations also are doubtful that wealthy member nations are willing to see their voting shares reduced at a later stage.

When the Washington-based IMF was founded in 1945, it was focused on the needs of the United States, Europe and Japan. But over time the importance of emerging economies has grown. The reforms seek to redress these changes.

The weight of each country’s vote is determined by its quota. The U.S. vote, for example, counts for about 17 percent of the total, Japan has 6.1 percent of the vote and European countries together hold about a third of the votes. Argentina has a voting share of 0.99 percent, while tiny Swaziland has 0.03 percent.

The reform issue is the most pressing one facing the IMF during its annual meetings with the World Bank, which culminate Tuesday and Wednesday.