Francis Elliott
Times Online
November 14, 2008

In a veiled warning to the next American President, Gordon Brown described protectionism as the “road to ruin” yesterday as international tensions surfaced at the start of the G20 summit in Washington.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

As world leaders assembled for dinner at the White House last night at the start of the two-day meeting, the backdrop was one of plunging sales and surging unemployment. The New York stock market dropped 350 points after official data showed that US retail sales had fallen by 2.8 per cent in October, the biggest slide for 16 years.

The mood was darkened further with confirmation that the eurozone was now in the grip of recession for the first time since the creation of the single currency in 1999.

The news will add impetus to calls for internationally co-ordinated tax cuts, public infrastructure projects and other measures to stave off a severe global recession. Although some measures to reform international financial oversight are set to be agreed at the G20 meeting this weekend, no substantial deals are expected before the inauguration of Barack Obama in January.

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