With a trade war brewing between Europe and China, protectionism is back in the headlines as Brussels lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organisation against Chinese duties on steel tubes and spoke out against unfair trade practices saying it will do everything it can to ensure fair competition.
That got a thumbs up from Arnaud Montebourg, France’s Industrial Renewal Minister and the region’s most prominent anti-globalisation campaigner, who said Europe must work together to protect itself: “I believe every country is protectionist. The Americans are protectionist, the Chinese are protectionist, the Canadians are protectionist, the Indians are protectionist. Only the Europeans are almost 100 percent open: the most naive inhabitants in the global village.”
He spoke after meeting the EU’s Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani and urging him to protect the region’s industrial interests against “unfair competition” saying Europe has “suffered enough damage”.
Our Paris correspondent Giovanni Magi attended the meeting between Tajani and Montebourg and concluded: “France is one of the countries most concerned about industry’s decreasing role in the European economy, which is why it has welcomed the EU plans to support industry.”