Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Macron urges European unity to face rising China

Macron urges European unity to face rising China

The French Development Agency and the state-run China Development Bank are due to sign a cooperation agreement for co-financing of projects to fight climate change in Africa.

Mr Macron was greeted by a military honour guard before talks with Mr Xi, during which a key topic was the "Belt and Road" initiative to increase China's trade links to central Asia, Europe and southeast Asia.

Soon after arriving in China, the French president declared that "Europe is back", announcing he meant to visit China every year of his five-year presidency.

A key issue for Macron, invoked several times during his visit, is reciprocity, or obtaining the same level of access for European and other foreign companies to China's state-dominated economy as Chinese companies enjoy overseas.

Xi, who had already hosted Macron and his wife Brigitte for dinner on Monday night, treated the French leader to a military honour guard at the hall before their meeting.

Macron's decision to flout convention comes as the couple prepares for an official trip to China this week.

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China is the second largest aviation market in the world, making this country a competitive field between Airbus and Boeing.

"France imports 45 billion from China but only exports 15 billion, so we have access to markets which is unbalanced, unsatisfying".

Macron said details have yet to be completed and gave no financial figures. The other, a warning to not underestimate growing concern and frustration in Europe - and elsewhere - with what many regard as China's unfair trade practices such as investment restrictions in many sectors that are not blocked in countries overseas. Also, the emerging "Made in China" plan has also shaken the sales of French products in China. He and Xi also agreed to pursue a comprehensive and strategic partnership.

At the incubator, French engineering firm Fives signed a deal with Chinese online retail giant JD.com, which will set up a logistics centre in France to source French food and luxury products for sale online in China.

Securing A380 sales in China has become a priority for Airbus, after the aircraft's main buyer, Dubai's Emirates Airline, failed to close an expected order for 30 new jets late past year.

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