China Taps U.S.-Trained Former Central Banker for IMF Role

China Taps U.S.-Trained Former Central Banker for IMF Role
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SINGAPORE—Beijing is set to appoint a lawyer with deep U.S. experience as its top representative to the International Monetary Fund, according to people familiar with the decision, as it seeks to repair its relationship with Washington and gain a greater voice in the multilateral economic arena.
Li Bo, a veteran at China’s central bank who helped draft key regulations on money laundering, cross-border transactions and credit reporting, will replace Zhang Tao as a deputy managing director at the IMF, the people said. Mr. Li is currently a vice mayor of Chongqing, a southwestern Chinese metropolis that has served in the past as a steppingstone to higher office.
The appointment is likely to be announced shortly after this year’s meeting of the National People’s Congress, which begins Friday and is China’s largest political event of the year, bringing together thousands of political elites to approve personnel appointments, discuss foreign-policy issues and set longer-term economic plans.
During this year’s mostly virtual event, officials will approve a high-level policy blueprint and discuss ways to curb the influence of Hong Kong opposition groups on a body that selects the city’s top official.
Another priority for delegates will be China’s ties with the U.S. under President Biden, after four years of souring relations under his predecessor, Donald Trump. The planned appointment of Mr. Li, who worked at New York law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, could help China further deepen its relationships on Wall Street, according to one of the people.