Spotlight on Geopolitics

Mopping up after Sarkozy

François Hollande, the French president, is currently back from a state visit to China. Hollande hopes to expand trade in Asia, as France’s current account deficit has reached 75 billion euros, a third of which is with the Middle Kingdom.

His task has been made difficult by the recent history of French-Chinese relations. In 2008, former president Sarkozy met the Dalai Lama in Paris, angering the Beijing leadership. He had also threatened to boycott the 2008 Beijing olympic games, with catastrophic results at the time for French companies such as Carrefour operating in China. Commercial relations have suffered in the medium term as a result, as well. Thus, if Germany exported 2 million Volkswagen in China in 2011, during the same period Citroen exported only 44,000 cars, and Renault even less .

Although led by Christian Democrats, Germany has avoided mixing trade with religion and international relations, careful not to offend one of its main trading partners. This businesslike approach might even inspire president Obama in future . (for details, click HERE )

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