Zhu Min nominated to prominent IMF role

Appointment reflects rising voices of emerging economies: Analysts

NEW YORK – The nomination of Zhu Min, special adviser to the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as a deputy managing director of the fund, is in line with expectations and reflects the growing influence of China and other emerging economies, analysts said on Wednesday.

The IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde announced the appointment of Zhu in a statement on Tuesday. If approved by the board, Zhu will become the first Chinese national to hold such a senior position at the fund.

Analysts said that Zhu is fully qualified for the job, and that his expertise and ability have been widely acknowledged.

“It’s an overdue recognition of China’s weight in the world economy. Zhu Min is an excellent person to hold this new position,” said Sebastian Mallaby, director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, a non-partisan US think tank.

Eswar Prasad, Tolani Senior Professor of Trade Policy at Cornell University in the US, said the move is an acknowledgment of China’s increasing prominence in the fund’s power structure.

“It signals that the world community expects China to play an increasingly important role on the global economic stage,” he said.

Zhu, born in 1952, is a former deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, the nation’s central bank. He joined the IMF a year ago as a special adviser to the former managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned on May 18 after being accused of sexual assault.

However, some analysts pointed out that Zhu’s nomination may only have a symbolic importance because he was already de facto deputy managing director in terms of his responsibilities.

Moreover, the move may weaken the support of the United States and Europe for further IMF reforms in the interests of developing economies, including China.

“Now it seems that China has gotten what it wants. But it may make the US and Europe less willing to push the IMF reforms, which are more important for China than just the nomination,” wrote the Reuters columnist, Wei Gu.

The developing economies have long hoped to change the landscape of international financial governance, where the US has the power of veto and the largest voting quota.

Last week, in her first news conference as head of the IMF, Lagarde promised to make the body more inclusive and give emerging markets a greater say in the organization.

“Zhu brings a wealth of experience in government, international policy making and the financial markets, strong managerial and communication skills as well as an institutional understanding of the fund, and I look forward to his counsel,” Lagarde said in Tuesday’s announcement.

“As deputy managing director, he will play an important role in working with me and the rest of my management team in meeting the challenges facing our global membership in the period ahead, and in strengthening the fund’s understanding of Asia and emerging markets more generally,” she added.

David Lipton, an economic aide to the White House, was selected to take over from the current first Deputy Managing Director John Lipsky. The No 2 position in the IMF is traditionally held by a US national.

Besides Lipsky, who is expected to retire soon, the other current deputy managing directors are Naoyuki Shinohara, of Japan, and Nemat Shafik, an Egyptian national.

Li Xiang in Beijing contributed to this story.

Source: China Daily

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