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America First? What is Behind Washington's 'Economic War' Against Europe

© AP Photo / Virginia MayoThe US and EU flags, left and right, fly side by side at the European Council building in Brussels. (File)
The US and EU flags, left and right, fly side by side at the European Council building in Brussels. (File) - Sputnik International
Former French President Francois Hollande has berated Donald Trump for pursuing protectionist policies. Speaking to Sputnik, French analysts said that the US often used "hidden protectionism" even before Trump was elected and that EU countries are just starting to determine strategies for resisting competition from American multinationals.

Marc German, a specialist in competitive intelligence and enterprise diplomacy, told Sputnik France that Trump "loudly declares the protectionism of the American economy."

"But his battle cry, which boils down to the slogan 'America first', is in fact an unwritten preamble to the American Constitution. And we have been seeing this for two centuries already!" German added.

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He was echoed by Lawyer Olivier Piton, who said that "the United States has always professed protectionism, albeit in a hidden form."

He recalled that "even Barack Obama found a way to save the American automotive industry" during his tenure. At the time, it was reported that it was clearly protectionist measures, and no one made any special hype about this, according to Piton.

"Americans have always believed that they should defend their sovereignty in a number of areas. That is, this phenomenon is not new because Americans have always acted like this," he said.

According to Piton, the traditional American use of hidden protectionism in trade policy-making comes amid "the review of multilateral agreements."
In other words, he added, there is a return to the narrow national vision of trade relations, at least from the American point of view.

German, for his part, recalled that a whole array of enterprises and large corporations in Europe had already started to merge in order to contain competition from American companies.

"In the economic war which has been waged for many decades between the United States, which seeks unipolarity, and the rest of the world, there are movements that resist the Americans," German said.

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Urging Europe to finally "wake up", German quoted former French President Francois Mitterrand as saying that France is in a "deadly" war with America, which he claimed wants unlimited power in the global arena.

Earlier, the French business newspaper Les Echos cited a spate of  strategic industries in which President Trump is ready to abandon market principles to protect his country' national economy. These include industries related to the production of steel, aluminum, cars, aircraft, ships and semiconductors.

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