Time ripe for global policies: IMF's Lin

Updated: 2012-04-20 11:23

By Tan Yingzi in Washington (China Daily)

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Time ripe for global policies: IMF's Lin
Lin Jianhai, secretary of the IMF, says countries should take whatever actions needed to end the global economic crisis. [Cai Chunying / China Daily]

With the global economic prospects improving but the recovery still fragile, now is a good opportunity for countries to discuss and take further policy measures to address remaining vulnerabilities, Lin Jianhai, the new secretary of the International Monetary Fund, said on Wednesday during its spring meeting.

"Member countries should seize the moment to do what is necessary to put the global economic crisis behind us. There is no better time like the present to do so," Lin said in an interview with China Daily.

Lin, a Chinese national, was appointed to the new post in March because of his work experience in the organization since 1989.

He oversees the Secretary Department that has operational responsibility for the 24-member executive board, and serves as the official contact point for the IMF's 188 member countries. The Secretary Department also organizes the IMF's spring and annual meetings.

Lin said the world economy has slightly improved. In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF raised its global growth forecast for this year from 3.3 percent to 3.5 percent, with a 4.1 percent growth expected next year.

"But the risks of economic downturn still linger, with weak growth overall and high unemployment in many economies," he added.

The IMF has made Global Challenges and Global Solutions as theme of this year's spring meetings, which is attended by economic policymakers, think tank members, academics and media from all member countries.

Since 2008, the organization has said it has increased its lending, strengthened policy advice and technical assistance, and reformed its governance to better respond to members' needs.

One of the IMF's major efforts is to strengthen its financial firewall with additional resources from its members. This will not only help tackle the debt crisis in the eurozone, but also support growth in emerging markets and developing countries. Because the global economy is so interconnected, instability in one part of the world could set other regions back. And because of that, Lin said, collective action and effort is needed.

"Many member countries have shown their support, and we will see significant progress achieved within this week," he said.

There have been a series of encouraging developments this week. Following the $200 billion pledge already received from the eurozone, Japan announced its intention on Monday to contribute $60 billion in additional resources to the IMF.

Denmark, Norway and Sweden said on Tuesday that they will increase their financing commitments to the IMF by more than $26 billion. Switzerland and other countries have pledged $26 billion, and Poland will contribute $8 billion.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde announced on Wednesday evening that she had already received $320 billion in commitments and there were "more in the pipeline".

"So I go around with my bag and I fill it up gradually but surely," she said during a speech at the reception at a finance forum.

The world's 20 biggest economies are likely to agree to increase the resources of the IMF by between $400 billion and $500 billion, rather than the $600 billion initially sought by the IMF, according to Reuters.