BEIJING (AP) -- The head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the club of rich countries, endorsed China's appeal for more say in global finance bodies Friday ahead of a summit of world leaders.
"Yes," Secretary-General Angel Gurria told reporters when asked whether China should have more voting rights in the International Monetary Fund and other bodies. "The fact that China has less votes than Belgium tells you (that)."
Beijing is pressing for developing countries -- especially China -- to have more influence in the IMF, World Bank and other bodies and has lobbied for that as part of a joint response to the global financial crisis.
A joint statement issued Sunday after a meeting of finance officials of the Group of 20 major economies agreed the IMF should reflect the growing role of developing countries. The fund and other bodies have yet to take action on such pledges.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and other officials are due to attend G-20 meeting on April 2 in London.
Gurria was in Beijing to meet Chinese officials. Beijing is not part of the 30-nation OECD, but the Paris-based group is forming closer ties with China and four other major non-members -- India, South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia.
Gurria did not directly respond when asked whether the OECD was concerned about China's rejection of Coca-Cola Co.'s bid to buy a Chinese fruit juice maker, which stirred concern among foreign companies. Regulators cited anti-monopoly concerns, but industry analysts say Beijing wanted to keep a leading local brand out of foreign hands.
But Gurria, a former Mexican finance minister, warned against what he said was rising protectionist sentiment amid the global economic crisis.
"Protectionism makes a bad thing worse," he said. "If you're in a hole, the first rule of holes is to stop digging. And protectionism is just one big shovel."