RPT-UPDATE 1-France's G20 presidency to set deficit criteria

By Yann Le Guernigou SEOUL, Nov 12 (Reuters) - President Nicolas Sarkozy said the G20 had tasked France's presidency of the group with setting the criteria for measuring an excessive trade deficit, preferably by the middle of 2011. Sarkozy, who takes the presidency of the G20 after this week's summit in Seoul, said he would meet with US President Barack Obama either later this year or early in 2011 to discuss France's ambitious agenda of pushing ahead with reform of the global monetary system. On Friday, Leaders from the G20 group of developed and emerging nations agreed in Seoul to a watered-down commitment to watch out for dangerous trade imbalances using "indicative guidelines", but left the details to be discussed in the first half of next year. "We do not have an agreement on the criteria, but we agree on that fact that there will be criteria, and we must define them under the French presidency, preferably before the summer. That we are agreed upon," Sarkozy told a news conference after the summit. "On the reform of the international monetary system, the G20 for the first time indicates that its object is to build an international monetary system more stable and resistant: it has asked the IMF to work on that and it has given the French presidency a mandate to arrive at this objective," he said. Sarkozy said he would also holds talks with IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn in Paris in December, and would also travel to South Africa for talks with President Jacob Zuma. In an effort to build a broader international consensus for France's three point reform agenda at the helm of the G20 -- which includes plans to reform global governance and tackle volatility in commodities markets -- Sarkozy said he would travel to an African Union summit in January in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The French president, who hopes to use the G20 presidency as a launching pad to boost his flagging poll ratings ahead of 2012 elections, said no progress would be made if G20 members wasted their time reproaching each other. Sarkozy, who met with Chinese President Hu Jintao in France last week, singled out Beijing for praise -- despite criticism from Washington that China must do more to appreciate its yuan currency. "Our Chinese friends are agreed to host in China in the spring the first working seminar on the reform of the international monetary system and I am very grateful to President Hu for accepting that," Sarkozy said. (Editing by Ron Askew) (daniel.flynn@thomsonreuters.com; +33 1 49 49 5071; Reuters messaging: daniel.flynn.reuters.com@reuters.net, Paris Newsroom) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.

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