According to this article in the Washington Post, the French are starting to feel the sting of the American backlash against French goods, at least in certain areas, notably wine imports.
American importers of French wine are reporting sharp drops in sales in the past two months, and other French products also have been affected. The Federation of Wine Exporters has called a meeting Thursday to discuss how to respond.Maybe that's a bad translation, but it sounds suspiciously like Medef thinks the US public is in some way obligated to keep French business interests above the political fray. Sorry, boys, that's not the way things work over here. Skipping to the end:
The nation's principal business federation took the unusual step of publicly acknowledging the problem, conceding today that sales, recruitment and business contacts have been hurt. It appealed to consumers and businesses to keep political differences from affecting commerce.
"Certain French enterprises are suffering today from the differences that have arisen among states over the Iraqi question," the Movement of French Enterprises (Medef) said. "It is necessary to say to those who are unhappy with the positions of French diplomacy that they are free to criticize, but they must keep products and services of our enterprises outside their quarrel."
The importers, angry and frustrated, said the government in Paris did not comprehend the effect of its war position on French businesses.Sensible message. If only it had been delivered earlier.
Touton [wine importer] has tried to fight the trend by pledging to give $1 for every case of wine he sells to the USO to help U.S. troops in Iraq. He has done it for two weeks but it hasn't helped much. He said he thinks that business will pick up only when Chirac stops making anti-U.S. statements.
"We want to send the message to the French side to please do something. Or, if you don't want to do anything, then please shut up," Touton said.
[Link via Dean Esmay.]