…Officials instrumental in setting up the G20 agree that it is in danger of drifting into irrelevance, but vary in their views on invigorating the process. Tony Fratto – deputy White House spokesman when President George W. Bush’s administration convened the November 2008 meeting, and now at Washington’s Hamilton Place Strategies consultancy – says the grouping would do best to move incrementally. It should look for discrete, if unspectacular, projects that need political momentum rather than aiming at a fundamental reinvention of global economic governance.

“If you are going to have a leaders’ meeting, you need deliverables,” Mr Fratto says. For him, the only possible candidate for a concrete achievement for November’s summit is to confirm and harden up the new Basel III accords that determine how much capital banks have to hold. “The one thing I hoped for from the G20 was the laying-on-of-hands by leaders on international finance issues,” he says. “If we had left negotiating Basel to the central bankers, it would have dragged on for years.”

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