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IMF could be based in Beijing in a decade, says chief

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) could be based in Beijing in ten years if the Chinese economy continues its growth momentum, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has said.

One of the top priorities for the IMF in the next decade is to better represent its member economies, Xinhua news agency quoted Lagarde as saying at an event held by the Washington-based think tank Centre for Global Development.

“To continue to be relevant, it (IMF) will have to be as representative as possible, and better than it is today of the membership,” Lagard said.

“If the trends continue (in terms of growth), it would mean that some of the large emerging market economies which… are at risk of being under-represented will be better represented in the institution,” Lagarde said.

There’s a possibility that IMF could have its head office moved to Beijing, if the Chinese economy continues its growth momentum and is better represented in the IMF, according to the IMF chief.

“If we have this conversation in 10 years’ time… we might not be sitting in Washington. We’ll do it in our Beijing head office.”

The IMF’s bylaws call for the institution’s head office to be located in the largest member economy.

The IMF put forward quota and governance reforms in 2010, but the reforms didn’t become effective until the US Congress approved the plan in 2015.

The reforms doubled the IMF quotas and reallocated quota and voting shares in the IMF away from advanced economies, primarily in Europe, to growing emerging market economies.

The reforms are the biggest change in the governance of the IMF since its establishment, and are a recognition of the increasing role that emerging markets play in the global economy.

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