China leads calls for global financial reform

SHANGHAI, China — Leaders from Asia and Europe on Saturday called for new rules and stronger regulation of the global monetary and financial system at the close of a two-day summit in Beijing as China assumed a new leadership role in the crisis.

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said the world's economic problems had become so massive that measures beyond the many billion-dollar bailout packages already announced might be necessary to avert further damage.

Wen also said stricter regulation might be key to recovery. "Lessons should be learned from the financial crisis, and the responsibilities should be clarified for governments, companies and supervision, respectively," he said.

The Asia-Europe Meeting, last held in 2006, traditionally does not result in any policymaking. This year's gathering, however, had taken on a new urgency as the world teeters on the edge of a global recession.

In a joint statement, the more than 40 world leaders in attendance — including Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy — said they recognized "the need to improve the supervision and regulation of all financial actors, in particular their accountability," and pledged "to undertake effective and comprehensive reform of the international monetary and financial systems."

Although the leaders spoke only of broad principles and did not offer details on specific proposals, it was clear the groundwork was being laid for a Nov. 15 meeting on the crisis that President Bush is hosting in Washington.

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Arab officials meet on global financial crisis

Persian Gulf Arab finance ministers representing the six oil-rich nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council said Saturday that strict monetary oversight has protected their nations from the global financial crisis. The ministers, representing Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, met in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Several analysts said the six nations are well positioned to weather the brunt of the financial crisis — at least in the short term — because of their oil-fueled cash surpluses. But they have also seen their local stock markets take a beating in tandem with broader global markets. Since January, Saudi Arabia's benchmark Tadawul index is down by more than 44 percent and the Dubai Financial Market is off 45 percent, according to data from Zawya.com, a Middle East business information Web site. The region's main source of revenue, oil, has also been hard hit as crude prices have fallen by well over 50 percent from their mid July highs of $147 per barrel.

Associated Press

China leads calls for global financial reform 10/25/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 5:25pm]

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