We steel don’t like Johnny Foreigner
Earlier this year, it was the Dubai Ports’ deal which got Americans all concerned about Johnny Foreigner coming in and controlling “strategic” assets, and homeland security was cited. The usually embracing Democrats, who have criticized the Bush administration of being insular, were among the critics of a UAE-based company gaining control over American ports.
It’s the kind of anti-globalization behaviour one would expect from the French. And the French have delivered.
While many can understand American hesitation—ports can be strategic in a military sense, and it doesn’t take an active imagination to see why—the French idea of ‘strategic’ includes casinos. According to YaleGlobal Online, that’s one of the industries the French seek protection over.
Right now, the French are upset that an Indian steel ﬁrm, Mittal, may buy up Arcelor, controlled by French and Luxembourgeois interests. And Arcelor has sought help from a Russian company, Severstal, to which it has ceded a third of its shares.
I get the awful feeling the colour of the CEO’s skin is what has been unpalatable to opponents. Why else would Severstal be OK? Is Russian-led globalization preferable to Indian-led globalization? Is Russian politicization not more dangerous than Indian management?
And anti-Bush types may be rather miffed to know that the ports Dubai Ports World controlled were turned over to Halliburton.
Meanwhile, French companies go all over the world buying up assets—many of the brands New Zealanders associate with domestic food production are French, such as Eta, Grifﬁn’s and Just Juice. Renault has a controlling stake in Nissan. France Telecom owns Orange.
Things are harder to swallow for some western interests when once-abused countries play the globalization game—one that the west has played for so long, not always particularly well when it came to the welfare of the host nations’ citizens. Posted by Jack Yan, 09:06
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