World leaders for larger grouping to tackle economic crisis

October 20th, 2008 - 1:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 20 (Xinhua) World leaders have called for a new global financial architecture to tackle the current financial crisis, the most serious since the Great Depression of the 1930s. “The G7 (the Group of Seven industrialized nations) is not working. We need a better group for a different time,” said World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick in a recent speech.

He said that the way the world tries to solve its economic problems needs to be rethought amid today’s global crisis, including turning the Group of Seven into a steering group that empowers rising economic states.

Zoellick’s idea was echoed by many leaders.

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said that the global financial architecture had clearly failed to adapt to globalized financial markets, warning the architecture’s legitimacy and effectiveness had been called into question.

The global financial crisis had been marked by important regulatory and supervisory failures in advanced economies, in the risk management frameworks of major private financial institutions, and in market discipline mechanisms, he said.

“Legitimacy means that all countries have to be involved in the solution, because they are all involved in the problems,” said the IMF chief, noting that policymakers should not wait until the end of the current crisis before acting.

Many developed countries also called on a revamp of the global financial system to prevent the recurrence of the current financial crisis, pushing for a global summit by the end of this year.

“If you look at the global financial architecture, I don’t think it reflects the global economy today,” US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said when asked whether the G7 - the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan - should be expanded to include developing powers such as China, India, Russia and Mexico.

“It’s a big world, and it’s a lot bigger than the G7,” he added.

“If we are going to sort out global financial problems that are recognized to be global, we need better ways of doing this,” said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown when attending last week’s EU summit.

He said the current financial supervision system, largely based on national or regional levels, cannot cope with globalized financial markets.

“It is obvious now that we are dealing with global financial markets. Ten, 20 years ago we had national capital markets,” said the British leader, “What we do not have is anything other than national and regional regulation and supervision.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is also current European Union (EU) president, said at the EU summit that he would invite US President George W. Bush and other leaders of the emerging economies, such as China and India, to take part in refounding the world’s financial system.

“We all agree in Europe that we are going to need to refound the international financial system,” Sarkozy told reporters, stressing no financial institutions should be exempted from supervision.

Leaders of the Group of Eight major economies also endorsed Sarkozy’s viewpoint, saying they will hold talks with other powers to resolve the current financial crisis. However, leaders were divided over details of new financial orders.

Italian Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti called for expanding the exclusive G7 but dubbed his new forum the “GX” because even he didn’t know what shape it ought to take.

“We propose to go beyond the G7 framework to adopt a larger structure,” Tremonti said, adding that Italy would propose such a change next year when it assumes the rotating G7 leadership.

Meanwhile, Zoellick called for a new steering group, which he said should include seven emerging powers.

“For financial and economic cooperation, we should consider a new steering group including Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and the current G7,” said the World Bank chief.

He stated the new steering group should be more than just replacing the G7 with a fixed-number G14, as this would be using old world methods to remake the new.

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