At the World Economic Forum last week in Davos, Switzerland, government officials and business leaders warned that the downturn could lead to a slide in cross-border lending. "If you go around the world, then what you are seeing is the withdrawal of banks from a number of emerging-market countries with a pretty weak domestic-banking system," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said. "What you've got then is a form of financial mercantilism. ... It's the first stage of a financial protectionism that will lead eventually to the kind of trade protectionism that we've seen in the past."
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