Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna was in Washington last week for the spring session of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank where his series of appointments included a bilateral meeting with Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF for discussions on the challenges related to financial digitisation, as well as the consequences of Brexit at European and international levels. In addition, they discussed the implications of political change in the United States, which is the largest shareholder in the fund.
They also took a look at the evolution of international taxation, particularly with regard to the implementation of tax avoidance strategies such as base erosion and profit shifting.
Gramegna and Lagarde signed a bilateral loan agreement between the IMF and Luxembourg marking the continuation of Luxembourg’s financial support for IMF resources and underlining Luxembourg’s commitment to a strong IMF, based on a quota system and with adequate resources, so that it can preserve its role at the centre of the global financial security system.
In her address to the IMFC on 22 April, Christine Lagarde praised Luxembourg’s contribution to the new technical assistance programme in the field of finance.
The finance minister also attended the launching ceremony of the Green Cornerstone Bond Fund, set up by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a subsidiary of the World Bank Group, with the objective of financing projects related to the fight against Against global warming in Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The fund is domiciled in Luxembourg.
In his speech, Pierre Gramegna highlighted Europe’s leading role in the fight against global warming and the implementation of the Paris Agreements (COP21). He also highlighted the role of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and the Luxembourg Green Exchange for the development of global green finance.
“As a strategic partner of the Green Cornerstone Bond Fund, Luxembourg highlights the skills of the financial centre and takes its responsibilities in the fight against global warming,” he said.
Pierre Gramegna also had a working meeting with Ross Leckow, deputy general counsel in the legal department, in charge of Fintech issues, for an exchange of views on the implications of Blockchain for international payment services. He also had an interview with Anthony Delannoy, Executive Director of the IMF, and Frans Godts, Executive Director of the World Bank, to discuss institutional developments as well as developments at the multilateral level.
The finance minister also held a bilateral meeting with KV Kamath, President of the New Development Bank, to discuss the development of the bank and in particular its focus on green finance, an area in which the Luxembourg financial centre has established itself as a leading player. Pierre Gramegna also held working meetings with EBRD officials, of which he is currently chairing the Board of Governors.
The minister took advantage of the spring session to meet with a number of his African counterparts, saying ‘Beyond development aid, economic and financial exchanges should be encouraged. The conclusion of a non-double taxation agreement is an important element in this regard, as it facilitates private sector investment and hence economic growth.
In this spirit, bilateral discussions were held with Adama Kone, minister of economy and finance of Côte d’Ivoire, Amadou Ba, minister of economy, finance and [lanning of Senegal and Henry Yav Mulang, minister of finance of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Finally, on 21 April, on the initiative of Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna and at the invitation of Ambassador Sylvie Lucas, a dinner was held at the Luxembourg Embassy in Washington, bringing together the leaders of the main multilateral development banks , As well as the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.
“This high level meeting at the Luxembourg embassy highlights the role of our country as a bridge builder and mediator between cultures. Luxembourg is recognised as an actor and constructive interlocutor within the international organisations of which it is a member. The government’s transparency reforms have further strengthened its credibility and confidence in it at the international level,” said Minister Gramegna.