Crawford Forum discusses international rules

29 June 2015

In the case of trade and investment in particular, we are rapidly overdoing the rules.

The Crawford Australian Leadership Forum (CALF) has opened at ANU with a discussion on how international rules are impacting the international community.

Taking part in the session Martin Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times and widely considered one of the world's most influential economics writers, called for a reduction in the international rules governing the world's financial sector.

"In the case of trade and investment in particular, we are rapidly overdoing the rules," Mr Wolf said.

"We should have just enough co-operation to make the world work and not an inch more. We need fewer rules."

Andrew Sheng, Chief Adviser to the China Banking Regulatory Commission and member of the International Advisory Panel to the Australian Treasury's Financial System Inquiry, said world middle powers needed to be given a greater say in the rules governing global affairs.

"It is said that when elephants fight the grass gets trampled, but when elephants make love the grass still gets trampled," he said.

He said the world could not solve its problems by writing more rules. Rather, he said nations need to work to agree on core principles.

Heather Smith, Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet said there needed to be reform in global institutions to help reverse the trend of slow global economic growth.

"There's too much emphasis on monetary policy and not enough on structural reform to lay the foundations of future growth," she said.

Ms Smith said it was important to stop the G20 from being used to drive domestic political agendas, and for the world to be more comfortable for the G20 being used to drive growth.