Chapter

V. Collaboration With Members And International Organizations

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
September 1948
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Consultation with Members

CONSULTATION between members and the Fund is the principal means through which cooperation is made effective. The main purposes of consultation are the exchange of views on matters falling within the scope of the Fund Agreement and the provision of technical advice to members. Through consultation, the Fund also gains valuable insight into the special problems of members which enables it in its work to take full account of the particular circumstances of individual countries.

In addition to this regular consultation with members, the Fund has, at the invitation of the members concerned, dispatched missions to a number of countries during the last year to study economic problems on the spot in close association with the national monetary authorities. Personal contacts will be expanded during the coming year and used increasingly as a means to keep its members informed of the development of Fund views.

Collection and Dissemination of Information

One of the duties of the Fund is the collection of basic information needed for the formulation and execution of policy. The Fund must also collate this information and, insofar as it is not confidential, make it available to members as well as to a wider public. With this objective in view, the first monthly bulletin on International Financial Statistics was published in January 1948.

The Fund has become a center for the collection of information on monetary and financial problems which is designed to assist members as well as the Fund. As fuller information is supplied by members, further publications will be prepared, including a series of statistical and analytical annual volumes on balance of payments. An informal meeting on balance of payments methodology was called by the Fund in Washington in September 1947. Experts from some 30 member and non-member countries, as well as from the United Nations and specialized agencies, participated in these discussions and offered suggestions for the improvement of the forms which the Fund staff was developing for balance of payments reports. The exchange of ideas that occurred at these discussions influenced materially the Fund’s comprehensive Balance of Payments Manual which was sent to all Fund members as the basis for reporting balance of payments data under Article VIII, Section 5 of the Fund Agreement. The Manual was also sent to selected non-member countries with a request for similar balance of payments data.

Relations with Other International Organizations

The Fund has continued to maintain close and valuable relations with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. It has also cooperated in accordance with the terms of its Agreement with the United Nations and with other international organizations having responsibilities in fields related to the Fund’s activities. The Agreement concluded with the United Nations in accordance with Article 57 of its Charter has proved satisfactory. The Fund has maintained close relations with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and its subsidiary organs, especially the Statistical Commission, the Economic and Employment Commission and the several regional economic commissions. The Fund has been represented at meetings of the Food and Agriculture Organization, and has participated in International Wheat Council meetings in London and Washington and in meetings of the International Labor Organization.

In response to an invitation from the Economic and Social Council, the Fund participated in the meetings at which the ITO Charter was drafted and contributed to the formulation of practicable arrangements for cooperation between the Fund and the ITO.

The Fund and the ITO are both primarily concerned with the external economic position of nations—with their balances of payments in the broadest sense. Whereas the Fund approaches the problem of achieving and maintaining a sound external economic position of members primarily from the financial side, the ITO approaches this problem from the viewpoint of commercial policy. The interdependence of these two approaches is obvious and makes full cooperation between the ITO and Fund imperative.

To ensure such cooperation the Havana Charter provides for full consultation with the Fund. Moreover, the Charter provides that the ITO, before reaching its final decisions on whether quantitative restrictions are consistent with the provisions of the Charter, shall accept the determination of the Fund as to what constitutes “a serious decline in a member’s monetary reserves”, “very low monetary reserves”, and a “ reasonable rate of increase in a member’s monetary reserves”, and in respect to “ the financial aspects of other matters covered in consultation in such cases”. Finally, the Charter provides that, in the consultations with the Fund, the ITO shall accept “all findings of statistical and other facts” presented by the Fund “relating to foreign exchange, monetary reserves and balance of payments”.

It is anticipated that most members of the ITO will also be members of the Fund. However, such common membership is not required by the Charter. In order to prevent those ITO members who may not be members of the Fund from frustrating by exchange action the objectives of the Charter, such members would be required to enter into special exchange agreements with the ITO.

Under its Charter, the ITO will seek agreement with the Fund regarding procedures for consultation on monetary and related questions. A parallel provision is also contained in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Informal arrangements with the ITO of a temporary or administrative character will be made as necessary by the Executive Board. Any agreements of a permanent nature will be submitted for approval to the Board of Governors.

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