Since Saturday, and following the statements of Emmanuel Macron on the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, calls to boycott French products have multiplied since Saturday on social networks.

Can these calls have an impact on French exports to Arab countries?

In the wake of Emmanuel Macron's statements, in tribute to Professor Samuel Paty, on the French culture of drawing and caricature, calls for a boycott of French products have been launched on social networks.

Five or six Muslim countries, including Turkey, Kuwait and Qatar, are concerned.

The Quai d'Orsay called on governments on Sunday evening to end calls for a boycott.


- Three questions on the boycott of French products by part of the Muslim world

Symbolic posture

In Qatar and Kuwait, calls for a boycott have resulted in the withdrawal of cheeses, creams or cosmetics from the shelves of certain supermarkets.

Kiri and Babybel cheeses, for example, have been targeted in Kuwait.

If the French Minister of Foreign Trade Franck Riester spoke on Sunday evening of "impacts, impossible to quantify for the moment", this measure is essentially symbolic, according to the lecturer at Sciences-Pô Frédéric Encel: "It is quite secondary economically and diplomatically ", he explains, nevertheless stressing the possibility of a ripple effect generated by social networks.

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"The reality is the economy"

In fact, many barriers to boycott make it difficult.

In Turkey, where France mainly exports industrial products, "business habits are so important that it goes beyond the political world," says Stéphane Salvetat, secretary-general of the Franco-Turkish Chamber of Commerce.

In addition, exports of industrial products fell sharply last year, due to the economic crisis in Turkey, so it is difficult to envisage a further plunge.

"Politics often speak loudly, but the reality is economics."

Regarding food products, certain market peculiarities make a boycott quite improbable.

Saudi groups own producing companies, such as the Châteaulin plant in Finistère, making Saudi Arabia the only exporter of French chickens to Arab countries.

It should also be noted that the call for a boycott may lead to sanctions at European level.

However, the Arab countries maintain very important exchanges with the European Union.