Australia treasurer 'disappointed' at U.S. impasse on IMF reform

WASHINGTON Wed Apr 9, 2014 8:59pm BST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - International Monetary Fund members must find a way around a deeply disappointing impasse in the U.S. Congress over reforms to the global lender, Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey said on Wednesday.

Hockey hit out at delays in implementing changes agreed by the Group of 20 bloc of advanced and developing nations in 2010, which he said were letting down the international community and were entirely the fault of the U.S. Congress.

"I am deeply disappointed that the IMF quota and governance reforms that the G20 agreed to in 2010 have still not been implemented and that the path forward for ratification is now highly uncertain," he said at an event organized by Johns Hopkins University.

"The failure to finalize this issue diminishes America's global standing instead of enhancing it."

The reforms would give more power to emerging markets such as Brazil and China and increase the IMF's resources.

Australia chairs the G20 this year and Hockey said there would be a joint meeting of G20 nations and the IMF's International Monetary and Financial Committee on Friday to work on practical solutions to the problem.

IMF members had to look at ways to ensure that the IMF had enough resources during the delay in implementing the 2010 reforms, and also to deliver more balanced representation, Hockey said.

Some G20 officials have suggested moving ahead on the reforms without the United States, although U.S. approval would be necessary for any major decision to go forward because of Washington's controlling share of IMF votes.

Hockey declined to detail the options under consideration, but said: "The fact is that doing nothing is not an option, there needs to be action."

A bid to get the U.S. Congress to approve IMF reforms was dropped last month amid concerns that it could hold up a bill providing aid to Ukraine.

Some Republican lawmakers have complained that the reforms would cost too much at a time of deficits and budget cuts or lessen U.S. influence at the IMF, which supporters of the reforms denied.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has said she would continue to work for the reforms.

(Reporting by Krista Hughes; Editing by Paul Simao)

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