Paul Lachine

Une guerre commerciale n’est pas opportune

NEW YORK – Les dissensions concernant le taux de change entre les devises américaine et chinoise se poursuivent. Au début de la Grande récession, beaucoup s'étaient inquiétés d’un retour malvenu du protectionnisme. Les dirigeants du G20 ont promis qu’ils avaient retenu les leçons de la Grande dépression. Mais quelques mois à peine après leur premier sommet de novembre 2008, 17 pays membres du G20 adoptaient des mesures protectionnistes. La clause « Achetez américain » du plan de relance économique a en particulier fait parler d’elle. Le protectionnisme a toutefois été dans son ensemble contenu, en grande partie grâce à l’Organisation mondiale du commerce.

La faiblesse persistante des économies avancées comporte le risque d’une nouvelle poussée protectionniste. Aux Etats-Unis par exemple, un Américain sur six qui souhaite occuper un emploi à temps plein n’en trouve pas.

Ces risques étaient inhérents à un plan de relance insuffisant, qui avait autant pour objectif d’amadouer les membres du Congrès que de stimuler l’économie. Un second plan de relance semble peu probable, compte tenu de l’envolée des déficits, et comme la politique monétaire a atteint ses limites, avec les faucons de l’inflation exerçant des pressions persistantes, il n’y a rien à attendre de ce côté-là non plus. Le protectionnisme occupe donc la place d’honneur par défaut.

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