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Rato seeks IMF vote changes, multilateral role-FT

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LONDON, Apr 6 (Reuters) Economic powers such as China should get increased voting rights at the IMF as the institution adapts to new global realities, IMF managing director Rodrigo Rato said in an interview published on Thursday.

Rato was also quoted in the Financial Times as saying the International Monetary Fund would seek a more pro-active role in addressing the problem of global economic imbalances.

Rato said he hoped the IMF's spring meetings later this month in Washington would give him a mandate to make specific proposals on a change in voting rights which could boost the relative power of Asian countries, with European nations the likely losers.

These proposals would then be brought before the IMF's annual meetings in Singapore in September.

''I think there is a path there (on voting rights) that is acceptable for most countries,'' Rato said.

Rato also wants the IMF, which traditionally has handed down its recipes for a return to economic health to individual countries, to play a role in sorting out deep-seated global problems.

He told the FT he would put forward proposals at Washington which would enable the fund to undertake ''multilateral surveillance'', allowing it to look at the impact of countries' policies on the rest of the global financial system.

''There are a lot of people who see the fund as the right place, not just to discuss global imbalances but also to bring forward proposals,'' Rato said.

Rato's proposals come at a time of increasing concern that factors such as the huge U.S. trade deficit and the level of China's yuan, said by some trading rivals to be greatly undervalued, could lead to a crisis in the world economy.

Worries have also been expressed that the IMF needed radical reform if it was to remain relevant in the modern, globalised, world.

''If the mission of the Fund is not examined and the institution revitalised, it could slip into obscurity,'' Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, said in a speech in February. ''The Fund urgently needs to ask what its main purpose is.'' Reuters SS BD1541

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