Luxembourg, represented by Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna, participated in the spring session of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, taking place from 11-13 April 2019 in Washington.
One of the main themes of this year's meetings was the fight against climate change and, more specifically, the development of sustainable finance, a field in which Luxembourg is recognised as a reference centre at the global level.
To further strengthen this position, Pierre Gramegna led a seminar under the theme "Accelerating Change: Let's make it happen! The role of financial centres in strong, sustainable and balanced growth". Also participating in this seminar were John Berrigan, Deputy General Manager of Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (DG FISMA), Marcos Ayerra, Chair of the Inter-American Regional Committee, International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), Satya Tripathi, Deputy Secretary General of UN Environment and Stephen Nolan, Director of International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S). In this context, Pierre Gramegna also signed an agreement with the FC4S, to financially support its activities in the area of sustainable finance.
In the same spirit, Pierre Gramegna participated in the launch of the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action. This initiative, co-chaired by the Finance Ministers of Finland and Chile, aims to exchange best practices and establish standards for climate finance. The action of the Coalition, which is also supported by the European Commission, is built around six fundamental principles, including the implementation of the Paris Agreement, mutual cooperation and the mobilisation of private sources of funding. Luxembourg also strengthened its financial commitment to greater multilateral cooperation in tax matters, as part of the promotion of the "level playing field" principle at the international level.
Pierre Gramegna also had bilateral interviews with Günther Schönleitner, Executive Director of the World Bank and Anthony De Lannoy, Executive Director of the IMF, as well as with Poul Thomsen, Director of the European Department of the IMF and Vitor Gaspar, Director of Tax Affairs of the IMF, to discuss matters related to these organisations and the macroeconomic situation in Europe. The Finance Minister similarly met with Ross Leckow, Deputy Legal Director of the IMF in charge of FinTech, virtual currency and cybersecurity issues, for an exchange of views on the latest developments in this area.
During his trip to Washington, Minister Gramegna also took part in a series of bilateral interviews with some of his counterparts, including Chinese Finance Minister Kun Liu, Justin Muzinich, the Deputy Minister of Finance of the United States, and Grant Robertson, Minister of Finance of New Zealand. Similarly, Pierre Gramegna met with Nicolas Dujovne, Argentina's Finance Minister, to sign a new double taxation agreement between the two countries.
Finally, as has become tradition in recent years, the leaders of multilateral development banks met on the sidelines of the spring session for an informal exchange of views during a dinner at the Luxembourg embassy. At the invitation of the Minister of Finance, the heads of the World Bank, European Investment Bank (EIB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Green Climate Bank and the African Development Bank were among this year's participants. Discussions focused on macroeconomic news, as well as the need to accelerate the development of green and sustainable finance.