In a quasi-patriotic move to show France our discontent with the lack of support they are providing in the war effort, some Americans are going to boycott all things French. The scope of this assignment is to give an overview of the American idea to boycott French goods and services over the ongoing conflict in Iraq. This will summarize American Targets, French response, and possible effects caused by this conflict. In 2001 $30. 30 Billion of commodities were exported to all United States ports (Ferraro, 4). The majority of these goods included wine, cheese, and textiles.
These goods are now under-fire by American citizens in an anti-French revolt. In addition, French Festivals have also been rumored to be on the boycott list. What do the French think? Emmanuel Gagniarre, from the French embassy, is downplaying to American reaction. He said, "It would be a pity to boycott French products, but what can we do?" (Bluey, 2).
Tony Smith, from the French-American Foundation said, "Well, I don't favor a boycott for three reasons. First of all, it won't work. It won't be effective. It won't change French policy. Might even make the reprisals against us" (Oreilly Factor, 1). The French seem to think that a boycott would only harm American small business and they do not see a long term conflict arising from the boycott.
The French are also questioning why they are the target when many European Nations, like Germany, are even more opposed to American involvement in Iraq. The American position, as David B ossie (Citizens United) said, "The French Government needs to understand that actions have consequences, and by the American people speaking with their wallets and saying enough is enough, we can have a voice... their economy is growing at 1% per year. If Americans cut back 50% buying French products, we put them into a recession" (Oreilly Factor, 2). I do not think the Americans want to put France into a recession, but we do want them to be accountable. Some argue that we have bailed out the French numerous times, and the least they could do is put their interests in Iraq aside and support the greater good of the war effort.
What will be the overall effect on the Global economy? Is the American action to boycott French goods well thought out? Opinions on the effects vary greatly between people. The idea that we can put the French Economy into a recession and not have any effect on our own economy may be a bit too optimistic. "Relations between France and the United States are important economically, and count a lot for French companies which employ around 500, 000 Americans" ("US calls to boycott", 1). Many Americans may have a gut reaction that our economies do not affect one another, but it seems clear that some Americans stand to suffer from a boycott. Also, many of the French who would suffer from boycotts on wine and cheese support the American action in Iraq. "Americans who support the war in Iraq think they are hurting the French government by boycotting are actually hurting individual French vintners and cheese makers who (largely) support Bush and are in favor of the war" (Ferraro, 2)." These are some circumstances that Americans do not understand, or do not care to at this time.
However, something Americans should understand are the consequences their actions will have on the homeland. Many business people make their livelihood importing and selling French goods. From wine and cheese shops to restaurants, many small businesses will take a hit if the boycott is a success. "We live in a global economy, and it is difficult to boycott France's products without affecting other countries, including the US," said Yo-Jung Chen a consulate spokesperson.
"Tens of thousands of American work for French companies in America or work in the fields that depend on French products" (Ferraro, 4). The French reaction seems to be that "two can play at that game." No more Coke, Budweiser, Marlboro, or American Express in France. An increasing number of French restaurants are taking American items off their menu. One restaurant owner said this, "We wanted to do something to express our annoyance...
none of the customers have complained, on the contrary, most people thought it was a great idea" ("Boycott of American Goods", 1). With the French and Americans in conflict with one another it is unclear who will win, if anyone. The affects of the boycotts are unknown at this time, but if effective will show up in the economic figures that will be forthcoming. Is this just an understandable display of feelings, or a choice that will hamper the global economy? The overall impact seems relatively small in the long run, however I think people from both countries will be negatively affected.
This will either turn out to be a long-term ban or just an initial reaction to differences that will suppress with time.