Sarkozy calls for regulation

 
Julian Harris
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WITH global food prices rising, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for stronger regulation of commodity markets yesterday.

His comments came on the eve of the Davos summit, as economists decide how best to respond to food inflation.

The world risks food riots and weaker growth if leaders fail to act, Sarkozy told 300 diplomats and journalists in the Elysee presidential palace.

“How can you explain that we regulate money markets and not commodities?” asked Sarkozy, who holds the rotating presidency of the group of 20 (G20), a policy forum for the world’s leading rich and developing economies, for 2011.

“The day there are food riots, what country at the G20 table will say this does not concern them? I don’t see a single one,” he added.

Sarkozy has a three-pronged agenda for France’s G20 presidency, including tackling volatility in commodity prices, exploring changes to the world monetary system and reforming global economic governance.

He has been meeting with fellow G20 leaders, including US President Barack Obama and China’s Hu Jintao, in recent weeks to win support for his plans and assess what France can realistically achieve.

His other plans have faced strong resistance, particularly in Washington D.C.

As a result, Sarkozy has shifted focus to commodities – a theme also seen as a potential vote winner in next year’s French presidential election.