IMF Management and Staff Respond to the Report by the Independent Evaluation Office on the Fund’s Involvement in International Trade Policy Issues

Press Release No. 09/211
June 16, 2009

International Monetary Fund (IMF) management and staff welcomed the report released today by the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) on the Fund’s Involvement in International Trade Policy Issues.

Commenting on the report, Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, IMF Managing Director, said “I welcome the IEO's positive findings on: the appropriateness of conditionality on trade liberalization; the effectiveness of institutional cooperation; and that on some important trade issues, bilateral surveillance has provided excellent analysis and a strong voice for changing policies that harmed global stability.”

While the success in opening trade regimes globally has made some reduction in staff resources for trade both possible and desirable, the report “provides an excellent opportunity to discuss future priorities, and the role of the IMF should play in trade policy issues going forward,” Mr. Strauss-Kahn added. “I agree in particular with the IEO’s focus on financial services and preferential trade agreements, and the need to ensure due attention to farm and other systemically-important trade policies in major countries.”

Responding to the report, IMF staff said, they “welcome the IEO’s perspective on the role of trade in the Fund, including the recognition that trade policies can strongly influence macroeconomic stability.” They also noted: “The Fund’s overall mission requires that it address certain aspects of trade policy, including those that significantly influence external stability, yet we must be mindful of overall constraints. In this context, we see the recommendations as useful in contributing to a discussion on priorities for trade work within the Fund, rather than expanding that work.”



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