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IMF Gives China More Voting Power

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn pauses during the annual IMF and World Bank meetings (Oct 2010 file photo)

The International Monetary Fund announced Friday that it has approved measures that will overhaul the governance of the organization, giving China and several other countries more power in decision-making.

The change, altering the shares of voting power, lessens the controlling interest the United States and European countries had in the organization, and makes China the third-largest shareholder.

The United States and Japan are the largest shareholders; the move elevates China above European members such as Germany, Britain and France.

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn told reporters that the top level of the IMF governing board has been expanded to include Brazil, China, India, Italy and Russia. They join Britain, France, Germany, Japan and the United States in the top ten of the 24-member board.

The other 177 countries in the IMF share 14 seats on the board.

The IMF was created after the Great Depression and World War II to encourage global economic cooperation and international assistance when individual nations' economies faltered. The institution was charged with overseeing the international monetary system, including ensuring exchange rate stability and encouraging member countries to refrain from practices that hinder trade.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.