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Canadian icebreaker

With Argentina and the IMF again scuffling over how to restart the nation's economy, Former Bank of Canada chief John Crow, ex­Bundesbank head Hans Tietmeyer, onetime Bank of Spain head Luis Angel Rojo and the Bank for International Settlements' Andrew Crockett will try to nudge the two sides toward agreement.

With Argentina and the International Monetary Fund again scuffling over how to restart the nation's economy, the IMF last month dispatched four veteran international bankers to act as unofficial referees. Former Bank of Canada chief John Crow, ex­Bundesbank head Hans Tietmeyer, onetime Bank of Spain head Luis Angel Rojo and the Bank for International Settlements' Andrew Crockett will try to nudge the two sides toward agreement. Crow thinks his experience at the northern end of the globe could be very relevant.

"I'm pretty familiar with the currency board­dollarization debate -- not the Argentine version, but we've had similar debates in Canada. Also, Canada has been an inveterate floater, so we know quite a few things about what you have to do in terms of domestic policy to make a float work," says Crow, who is best known for imposing extremely tight monetary policy to bring down Canadian inflation in the early 1990s. "The issues are very difficult -- that, I know -- but it is both very important and very interesting." Crow appears well suited to his new assignment: He worked for a decade at the IMF before his seven-year stint at Bank of Canada.

Is he concerned about joining a politically charged debate in a country given to antiforeign outbursts? "We'll have standard arrangements," says the cool Canadian. "We're not going to go around in armored tanks or something."

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