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Finance Committee Calls for Oil Conservation

Finance Committee Calls for Policies To Promote Oil Conservation

Group also agrees to debt cancellation plan, Chairman Brown says

By Kathryn McConnell
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- Oil producers and consumers -- through conservation -- must cooperate in promoting greater stability in the world oil market, say the governors of a committee of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Addressing reporters September 24 after a meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) in Washington, chairman Gordon Brown said the committee also called for more investment in oil refinement capacity. Brown is the chancellor of the exchequer -- or chief finance minister -- of Great Britain.

The committee met as part of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, which conclude September 25.

Brown said the IMFC also agreed to elements of an overall debt relief program of up to $55 billion for the world's poorest countries by the end of 2005. The debt relief program was endorsed by the Group of 8 (G8) meeting in July in Gleneagles, Scotland. The G8 comprises the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom.

The IMFC, Brown said, "stressed the importance of policies to promote energy conservation, efficiency and sustainability, including through new technologies, alternative sources of energy, and addressing subsidies in oil products."

Brown said that at a time of greater risk for the global economy because of high oil prices, "it is a measure of the success of anti-inflation policies that the increase we have seen in oil has not resulted in a return to the stagflation of the 1970s."

The IMF executive board will now be called on to complete its approval of arrangements to deliver debt relief by the end of 2005, said IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato at the briefing.

Finally, the IMFC endorsed a policy support instrument that allows the committee to provide policy advice and support to members that do not need or want IMF financial assistance, Brown said.

The text of the IMFC communiqué and a transcript of the Brown-de Rato IMFC briefing are available on the IMF Web site.

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