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Bakers, clients to debate future regulation

Bakers, clients to debate future regulation

More than 370 Baker & McKenzie partners and 200 of their clients will descend upon Sydney next week for the firm's annual Asia Pacific meeting.

MORE than 370 Baker & McKenzie partners and 200 of their clients will descend upon Sydney next week for the firm's annual Asia Pacific meeting.

Participants will debate how the global financial crisis has brought into sharp relief the chance for Asia Pacific to become the new growth engine and centre of gravity for the global economy. How that shift will affect Australian and regional investment will be discussed and debated.

The conference comes after yesterday's release of a report by the OECD that found Australia needs to lift regulatory constraints and ease regulatory infrastructure bottlenecks in the future.

The OECD report, entitled Australia: Towards a Seamless National Economy, found Australian had weathered the global economic downturn better than other nations thanks to strong regulatory frameworks, however.

It suggested a boost in productivity to return long-term sustained growth was essential.

"An efficient regulatory system is a main step to achieve that goal," said OECD secretary-general Angel Gurria.

The report argues for the need to maintain the current commitment to regulatory reform.

Recent initiatives include Commonwealth fiscal reforms that give greater autonomy to states, a sharper focus on States performance and financial incentives to the States to undertake reforms over a five year period, the report found.

It said the reform agenda is likely to yield substantial economic benefits in the years to come.

Success will depend on continued co-ordinated actions by a number of agencies at state level, as well as Australian parliaments passing and amending state laws. Productive Commonwealth-state relationships are therefore crucial for the reform agenda.

Baker & McKenzie chairman Bruce Hambrett said the conference brings lawyer from across the firm's 14 Asia Pacific and 67 global offices together with clients to explore how Asia Pacific opportunities and challenges can be navigated over the coming year.

The OECD report recommends Australia should ensure that national institutional arrangements can support ongoing regulatory reform, including by developing formal arrangements for ongoing consultation with business.

A future challenge will be to coordinate regulation of national markets, the report said. This needs to ensure that new barriers are not created and so that all jurisdictions regulate with regard to the national interest without requiring the current financial incentives, maintaining a seamless national economy.

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