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Finance chiefs to skip Tokyo meetings (2)

(China Daily)

08:11, October 11, 2012

"There might be multiple reasons for the officials' absence," said Xu Hongcai, deputy director of the Information Department of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

"It's not necessarily to boycott the trip to Japan, and China absolutely has no reason to abandon the current role it plays in the IMF.

"The deputy governor and vice-minister can also represent China and will perform their duties in pushing forward reforms of the international financial system, as well as expressing China's stance in dealing with the current global economic turmoil," Xu said.

Every year, the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank bring together central bank governors, finance ministers and senior company executives from more than 180 member economies.

It has been customary for senior Chinese finance officials to attend the meetings and take part in discussions there about the global economy.

Last year, many people paid attention to the meetings to see if China would offer to help the eurozone overcome its debt troubles. In 2010, the meetings resulted in China obtaining a greater portion of the IMF's quota subscriptions, which determine its voting power in the organization and have a bearing on its access to the fund's financial resources.

The change brought China's quota subscriptions from being equal to 3.994 percent of the total subscriptions to 6.39 percent, giving it the third-largest portion among member economies.

Zhou and Xie's absence this year came after China's four biggest State-owned banks — Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd, China Construction Bank Corp, Bank of China Ltd and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd — decided to not send representatives to the Tokyo meetings.

The move was widely seen as the latest sign that the worsening tension between China and Japan was spreading to the countries' economic relations. Last month, street protests broke out in Chinese cities after Tokyo "purchased" several of the Diaoyu Islands, which are part of China's territory.

The dispute, which also led to attacks on Japanese-owned factories and stores in China, has already affected trade matters and threatened to undermine the shaky economic recovery Japan has undergone since being struck by a tsunami and nuclear disaster last year.

The number of Japanese cars sold in China plunged in September. Toyota Motor Corp reported it sold 44,100 new vehicles in the country that month, down 49 percent year-on-year. Honda Motor Co Ltd said it sold 33,931 vehicles in September, 41 percent fewer than in the same month a year ago.

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