Free-Trade: EU Commissioner Signals Marchionne To Shut Up And Fix His Own Problems

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
free trade eu commissioner signals marchionne to shut up and fix his own problems

Now here is something that is rarely heard these days. A top EU Commissioner told European automakers to get out of the way of European trade deals with Asia. Europe’s carmakers must reform their industry and cannot place the blame for falling sales on foreign trade, Reuters reports.

Said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht:

“We have to sort this out independently of free-trade agreements. Let’s not try to find a scapegoat somewhere.”

Unsaid, the comment was a slap in the face of Sergio Marchionne who used his current position as the head of the European automobile manufacturers’ association ACEA to vituperate against the free trade agreement with South Korea. Easy for Sergio to rail into Asian trade partners, he doesn’t export many Fiats. The export-heavy German makers were ostentatiously quiet on the matter. For good reason, they have a lot to lose.

De Gucht’s comment also sends a strong signal in the direction of France which is rumored to be mulling a “Buy French” plan for the auto industry.

Those who recklessly start trade wars often overlook that import restrictions nearly automatically translate into lower exports. In “if you close your borders then I close mine” fashion, countries retaliate . Latest example is the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China that was triggered by an ill-advised punitive tariff on Chinese tires, enacted by an internationally inexperienced Obama administration that paid outstanding union dues to the US Steelworkers union. It lowered exports of American cars and trucks to China, because the country retaliated with a punitive tariff of its own.

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  • Jimboy Jimboy on Jul 18, 2012

    While I am generally a big supporter of Marchionne, in this case I agree with the commissioner. Europe spends far too much time blaming everyone else for their troubles. It appears that they are always looking for a scapegoat or a bailout ( post WW2). It's about time they stood on their own two feet and take their lumps with the rest of the planet. So here's my advice to all those european exec's, fix your own problems and quit whining about it. We didn't put you there, we're not obligated to help you out, again. No one cares about your union trouble or lack of employment, you did it to yourselves, now either compete with the rest of the world or sink into obscurity, the choice is up to you.

    • See 2 previous
    • Jacek Jacek on Jul 18, 2012

      @th009 You can support Marchionne, you can support free market, but you can not support both without hurting common sense.

  • Wstarvingteacher Wstarvingteacher on Jul 18, 2012

    Refreshing. A government minister who is not pandering for votes. Or is that usually just the U.S.?

    • Caboose Caboose on Jul 19, 2012

      I'm gonna go with the EU Trade Commissioner not being an elected position.

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