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Commentary :: Globalization
Obama greets Jiabao
31 Mar 2009
On his knees
Obama greets Jiabao.jpg
The IMF has run out of money and is aiming to boost its reserves with cash from the only ones who have it - China and Saudi Arabia.

Beijing wants something in return for the new funding. "China sees this as a good opportunity to increase its influence," said Jun Ma, China economist for Deutsche Bank. China doesn't want to miss out on the chance to help rewrite the rules that will govern global finance for coming decades. "China is more actively contributing their thoughts. This is very different from 10 years ago, when China was much quieter and more low profile," said Mr. Ma, who previously worked for both the IMF and the Chinese government.

China wants more IMF voting rights in exchange for any new funding, which most countries agree makes sense given its weight in the global economy. Chinese officials have also said the country could contribute in ways that don't require an immediate overhaul of the organization, for instance by buying bonds issued by the IMF.
An increase in China's IMF voting power would likely come at the expense of smaller European nations.
A stronger Chinese role at the IMF could also mean the institution might start going along less frequently with the U.S. and Europe. Because the current crisis originated in developed countries, China says the IMF should be able to more openly criticize their policies. "Under the current situation, we feel that the IMF particularly needs to strengthen its surveillance of the economic and financial policies of the major reserve-currency-issuing nations," deputy central bank governor Hu Xiaolian said last week.

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