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U.S. Treasury to press for COVID stimulus, China debt participation at IMF meeting: official

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© Reuters. Brent McIntosh, General Counsel, U.S. Department of the Treasury, speaks at the 2019 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills
© Reuters. Brent McIntosh, General Counsel, U.S. Department of the Treasury, speaks at the 2019 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury will press countries to keep up coronavirus stimulus during International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings next week and urge China to fully participate in debt relief for poor countries, a senior Treasury official said.

In a video interview recorded on Tuesday and published on Friday, Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs McIntosh said a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic depended on continued policy support.

“We cannot declare victory at this point, we need to continue pushing for responsive measures,” McIntosh told https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4foW20d8Hs Mark Sobel, U.S. chairman of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, a London-based think tank. “So I think our first message in the meetings is going to be that countries need to be not withdrawing support prematurely.”

McIntosh said in the Tuesday interview that he hoped that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi could reach agreement on a new U.S. coronavirus aid package. That same day, President Donald Trump announced that his administration was withdrawing from the talks, but discussions have since resumed.

McIntosh said he would urge Chinese officials for “full, faithful transparent compliance” with a G20 freeze on official bilateral debt service for the world’s poorest countries implemented earlier this year.

“China is the largest bilateral lender here. And so what we need to see from official bilateral lenders is transparency, not imposing non-disclosure agreements, not using collateralized financing.”

He said China needed to adhere to commonly agreed definitions of official bilateral creditors to include any entity “working at the behest of government,” including government ministries, development finance institutions and export credit agencies, among others.

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