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Gulf Times - Call for legal reform to deal with crunch
By Peter Townson
Qatar’s Minister of Economy and Finance, HE Yousef Hussein Kamal, addressed participants at the Qatar Law Forum yesterday claiming that legal restrictions imposed on governments and financial institutions had meant that the response to the current global financial crisis was not as quick as it might have been.
Speaking at the session entitled “In a Time of Financial Stress: Regulatory Law and the Credit Crunch”, Kamal explained that although Qatar had not been affected too badly by the crisis, and was still experiencing growth of 7-9%, legal limitations had prevented people within the financial sector from acting immediately, and argued that the legal framework surrounding international finance needed to be changed to help facilitate a faster response.
“People must realise that this kind of economic crisis can happen and create a legal framework to deal with it,” he argued, adding that the fact that laws can be changed or overruled on a whim when concerned with issues of national security is something that should also be extended to financial matters.
“We do not receive the same level of flexibility and freedom,” he argued before calling for reform.
The minister said that countries could not simply act independently, but must think and work together.
He compared the Qatari economy to a “boutique” clothes shop, which allows the government to control what happens throughout the country as opposed to a “department store” which is too big to maintain efficiently.
But the overriding message of Kamal’s address was that there is a necessity for international co-operation as well as domestic legislation to provide help to avoid future economic crises.
This sentiment was echoed by the other members of the panel during the discussion, who put forward suggestions as to how an international legal framework might be created.
Deputy general counsel of the International Monetary Fund Ross Leckow backed the minister’s claims that a strong legal framework was necessary to encourage international development.
He argued that any framework must not be binding, as any mandatory agreement would be weaker than a voluntary one. He added that the amount of money available for the IMF to assist national economies had recently been tripled to some $750bn.
The former deputy governor of the Bank of England, Sir John Gieve, claimed that unemployment would continue to increase for the next two years, and argued that banks needed to take “big measures to reduce moral hazards” in the future.
In terms of international co-operation, Gieve claimed that governments needed to establish a set of common global rules.

under the patronage of H.H. the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani , H.E. Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabor Al-Thani inaugurated the Forum works

PM to open Qatar Law Forum today 30- 5-2009


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