Thursday, 18 January, 2018

In China, Macron offers a horse, and a vision to counter Trump

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech to the French community at the country’s embassy in Beijing on Wednesday. — AFP French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech to the French community at the country’s embassy in Beijing on Wednesday. — AFP
Jay Anderson | 13 January, 2018, 03:50

Macron and Xi also vowed to keep up the fight against climate change - a key pledge in the face of US President Donald Trump's vow to withdraw from the Paris accord.

For his part, Macron is "clearly eyeing" a "special strategic partnership" with China, said Alicia Garcia-Herrero, chief economist for Asia Pacific at French bank Natixis, pointing to China's consumers grow hungrier for what France has to offer.

Macron's visit to Beijing is meant to strengthen ties between China and France and also to stabilize trade relations between Europe and Beijing, reports the French media.

Since 1976, Macron will be the first French president to visit Iran.

"Chairman Mao Zedong and General Charles de Gaulle made a historic decision with remarkable political foresight to forge diplomatic ties in 1964", Mr Xi said as the leaders met at the Diaoyutai state guest house in Beijing. In a speech at Daming Palace, the former royal residence during China's Tang Dynasty, Macron noted that the ancient Silk Roads were never only Chinese.

China is the world's second biggest aviation market, making it ripe for competition between Airbus and Boeing.




Other EU members including France and Germany are pressing Beijing to give their companies reciprocity, or the same access to its state-dominated economy that Chinese companies enjoy overseas.

Airbus is also offering China a production role on its A380 superjumbo in an effort to secure a programme-extending order for the slow-selling double-decker.

"We welcome France to expand investment in China and exports of high-grade French products, and we hope the French side will further loosen exports of high-tech products to China", China's Premier Li Keqiang told Macron, according to a Chinese government statement.

Macron began his visit on Monday bent on pursuing deals that would help France reduce its $36 billion (€30 billion) trade deficit with China. The two signed several major trade deals during the visit, that included fields such as food, nuclear power and aerospace.

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 a year ago.

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