APRIL 2003

• Immigration and Naturalization Service

• The New York City Mayor's Office Of Immigrant Affairs and Language Services

• Citizenship NYC

• New York Immigration Hotline

• National Immigration Forum

• Genealogical Resources in the New York Metropolitan Area

• America Immigration Lawyers Association and the American Immigration Law Foundation

• Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force

• Glossary

Local: General

• Archdiocese of New York Immigrant and Refugee Services

• Citizens Committee For New York City

• Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

Local: Specific

• Asian Americans for Equality

• Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund

• CARECEN-N.Y.

• Chinese Progressive Association

• Emerald Isle Immigration Center of New York

• Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York

• National Association of Korean Americans

• National Coalition for Haitian Rights

 

 

French Businesses Confront American Anger
From France-Amerique
March, 2003

By Pierre-Yves Dugua

Probably most of the French businesses operating in the United States have nothing to be afraid concerning the deterioration of diplomatic relationships between Paris and Washington. Small and medium enterprises and large firms like Alcatel or Lafarge are embedded in the American economical fabric. Their customers and their employees are rarely conscious of their French identity.

The economic services of the French Embassy in Washington estimate that 430,000 Americans work for firms with a French person as the principal shareholder. Out of 1,200 of these corporations, 240 are small or medium sized. Half are in the top technological equipment sector, such as information or aeronautical equipment.

With few exceptions, the marketing of these corporations in the United States doesn’t show any French identity. The American who goes to the movies to see 8 Mile has no idea that this movie is a production of Vivendi Universal. Even if he knows, there are few possibilities that he will be conscious that Vivendi Universal is a French firm. The doctor in Kansas City who prescribes the medicine Allegra to his patient is not concerned with the fact that Aventis (the owner of Allegra) is located in Strasburg. The resident of San Francisco who has a checking account in the Bank of the West has no reason to know that his bank is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas.

On the other hand, in certain sectors like the wine, fashion and tourism, the French identity counts. But during the last months, the French diplomacy gave the United States a bad image of the country, which created some commercial hits.

For several weeks, the American press created an echo of the initiatives boycotting French products. Certain restaurant owners talk about not using French wines. The Sofitel hotel of the group Accor in New York took down its French flag in order not to offend the American majority of his clientele.

Popular radio shows are also encouraging these initiatives. The cafeterias of the Congress do not serve French fries anymore but freedom fries. Naturally, these potatoes have nothing French. But it’s the symbol that counts...

French opposition to the American policy toward Iraq would have been better understood by the American opinion if it had been perceived as less aggressive. But, the press conferences in English of French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin showed Americans an aggressive French minister.

September 11, 2001 deeply changed the manner in which the Americans see the world and analyze the risks. Washington does not perceive the same change in the spirit of the French people.

The very visible profile of French diplomacy in the Iraqi crisis contrasted with the discretion of German, Russians and Chinese authorities. Nevertheless, they are also opposed to Washington.

Henry Kissinger, former secretary of state under President Richard Nixon, summarized the opinion of Bush administration and the majority of the Congress: “The behavior of France has not been the one of an allied country.” Colin Powell, the most popular political man in the United States, considers that Paris has deliberately humiliate him.

President George W. Bush himself is deeply hurt by the politics of the French government. For him, President Jacques Chirac, by his desire to mark down the United States, indirectly encouraged Saddam Hussein not to subject himself to United Nations resolution 1441, and this fact made the war inevitable.

This feeling is divided between many Democrats and Republicans, inevitably affecting the climate of the economic relations between France and the United States.

Translated from the French by Elias Saber

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