Le Retour du protectionnisme

Rassemblez les suspects habituels. Dans toute campagne électorale américaine pour les présidentielles, vous pouvez être certain que le protectionnisme fera son apparition, comme il vient de le faire. Mais le retour de l'Amérique dans le giron du protectionnisme a commencé il y a bien longtemps déjà, lors de l'établissement des tarifs douaniers sur l'acier en 2001 sous la présidence de George W. Bush.

Il était difficile alors de comprendre quel calcul était à la base des tarifs douaniers imposés par le gouvernement Bush sur les importations d'acier. Ces barrières douanières étaient une mauvaise décision économique : elles ont appauvri l'Amérique. Et une mauvaise décision commerciale : elles ont dépouillé les industries grandes consommatrices d'acier de bénéfices et d'emplois syndiqués qu'elles n'en ont préservé dans l'industrie de l'acier alors que ces deux secteurs industriels et leurs lobbies étaient aussi bien organisés et visibles à Washington l'un que l'autre.

Enfin, les tarifs douaniers représentaient aussi un mauvais point du côté de la diplomatie : qui voudrait alors signer des accords avec un gouvernement américain prêt à faire la preuve de sa capacité à rompre ses engagements pour un avantage infinitésimal et fictif en politique intérieure ?

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