The recent G20 ministerial meeting in Germany showed a consensus for free trade measures and the IMF is ready to support open trade “conducted under fair rules and well-enforced,” IMF Spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters in Washington Thursday (March 23).
“I think we saw, actually, G-20 consensus revolving around improving, not abandoning, the architecture of free trade,” said Rice about the final communique issued by the group.
“And, of course, how individual countries approach that improvement process is up to them, and the IMF with our 189 members is there to provide support.”
Rice also pointed out that IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde continues to be a firm advocate of free trade and inclusive growth.
“What Madame Lagarde said after the meeting was that in that context we should avoid self-inflicted wounds, as she characterized it. And I think, again, that was a sentiment shared at the G-20,” said Rice.
“We should avoid policies that would seriously undermine trade and openness and productivity, because that translates into a negative effect on incomes and living standards which is something we all want to avoid.”
The IMF also reiterated support for publication of an audit of Mozambique’s debt burden, although timing was not yet set, Rice said.
The African nation is struggling to finance large loans that had been negotiated by the government without Parliamentary approval. Mozambique launched an effort to audit all the hidden loans last year.
The IMF’s Executive Board welcomed those remedial measures, including the audit and launch by the Public Prosecutor of a criminal investigation into the debts incurred by certain state-owned entities.