Blair focuses on IMF reform

Prime Minister to meet Greenspan for talks on fund's future in wake of Asian crisis

PRIME MINISTER Tony Blair is to hold a private meeting with US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan to discuss reforms to the International Monetary Fund, a hot issue since the Asian financial crisis .

The meeting - an unusual one as heads of state do not usually meet with central bankers - will take place during Mr Blair's trip to Washington, which starts Wednesday. It is one of a complex set of international financial diplomatic manoeuvres currently underway. Because Mr Blair is President of the European Union and host of May's Group of Seven summit in Birmingham he finds himself at their centre. Mr Blair will also discuss the Asian financial crisis when he meets with President Clinton.

"We and our European partners have to recognise the Asian crisis is global and that the IMF is not just run by the United States," said a senior British official in Washington.

The US has traditionally taken the lead in directing IMF bail-outs like the one during the Mexican financial meltdown at the end of 1994, leaving Europe watching on the sidelines. Now the EU, whose members contribute 30 per cent of the IMF funds compared with 18 per cent for the Americans, want a bigger say.

"Exports from European Union countries to the region (Asia) are greater than those from the US. The exposure of European banks is greater than the sum of US and Japanese exposure," Chancellor Gordon Brown wrote in a recent letter to Michel Camdessus, managing director of the IMF, a copy of which has been obtained by the Independent on Sunday."

In that letter Brown outlines some suggestions for reform of the way the IMF operates - ideas likely to be taken up by Mr Blair in his meetings with Mr Clinton and Mr Greenspan. These include:

q The IMF "promoting a code of conduct on transparency in fiscal policies" and economic and financial developments in borrowing countries.

q An increase in the transparency at the IMF itself by encouraging it to go public on more of its activities, such as when a country continually ignores its advice.

q Making the IMF pay more attention to the vulnerability of its financial systems to potential shocks and reversals in capital flows.

q Finding ways to ensure private investors play a full role in resolving financial crises.

q Improving the assistance given to developing countries in strengthening their financial systems by the IMF and better co-operation with financial reg- ulators in emerging markets.

"Like my European partners, I believe it is essential to keep the IMF at the centre of the global response to what is a global problem" wrote Mr Brown, reiterating the EU's full support to the measures taken by the IMF in resolving the Asian crisis.

The IMF has promised $100bn (pounds 61bn) in loans to help the Far East economies meet their financial obligations and restore confidence in their banking systems.

The Government's plan seems to be to formulate a common EU view for IMF reform at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels on 16 February, which Mr Camdessus will attend.

Mr Brown originally invited Mr Camdessus to attend an informal meeting of EU finance ministers on 20 March, but the date was brought forward, indicating the importance being attached to IMF reform. These viewpoints will then be carried into a G7 finance ministers meeting in London on 21 February. A decision by the G7 could then pave the way for agreement at the IMF's Interim Committee in the Spring.

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Wonnacott dancing the pasadoble
TVStrictly Come Dancing The Result
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Brand labelled 'left-wing commie scum' by Fox News
TV
News
<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>
TV

Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
BBC's Antiques Roadshow uncovers a TIE fighter pilot helmet from the 1977 Star Wars film, valuing it at £50,000
TV

TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow

News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Operational Risk Manager - Asset Management

£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...

Project Coordinator - 12 month contract

£27000 - £32000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large charity ...

IT Operations Manager - London - £55,000

£50000 - £55000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Relationship M...

Banking Solicitor NQ+

Highly Attractive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NOTTINGHAM - BRILLIANT FIRM - You wil...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past