Worlds Apart

‘The US is using racket diplomacy to promote their interests’ – former French foreign trade minister

In light of the US imposing steel and aluminium tariffs on its allies, including the EU, the former French foreign trade minister Pierre Lellouche discusses the impact of trade barriers on Europe.

The world is “dealing with this trend of the US using their internal law as a racket diplomacy, in the old day, it was called gunboat diplomacy.” The US use their “domestic legislation as a way to coerce other countries and obtain economic advantages,” Lellouche says. 

While China has been “doing the same, but in a different way,” Europe “has been too weak” and ended up “being beaten on the head sometimes by the Chinese, sometimes by the Americans.” Whether 28 nations of the bloc can agree on “tough measures” against Washington and Beijing, Lellouche says that so far the answer is “not really.”

The US’ actions, such as introducing tariffs and withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal have “an impact on our sovereignty,” Lellouche adds. “It’s a turning point now. If we are not capable to show that we must be respected, then I think it will be a deadly coup for the future of the EU.”

At the same time, Donald Trump’s administration “has a point” in pressuring China with trade sanctions. “When you have to protect your interests, you may take measures that are necessary to protect your interests,” Lellouche says.
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