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DEFINITION of 'Paris Club'

An informal group of creditor nations whose objective is to find workable solutions to payment problems faced by debtor nations. The Paris Club has 19 permanent members, including most of the western European and Scandinavian nations, the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Japan. The Paris Club stresses the informal nature of its existence and deems itself a "non-institution." As an informal group, it has no official statutes and no formal inception date, although its first meeting with a debtor nation was in 1956, with Argentina.


The members of the Paris Club meet each month in the French capital, except for the months of February and August. These monthly meetings may also include negotiations with one or more debtor countries that have met the Club's pre-conditions for debt negotiation. The main conditions a debtor nation has to meet are that it should have a demonstrated need for debt relief and should be committed to implementing economic reform, which in effect means that it must already have a current program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) supported by a conditional arrangement.

The Paris Club has five key functioning principles: case by case, consensus, conditionality, solidarity and comparability of treatment.

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