June 23. 2024. 1:27

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France signs economic deals with China

France and China signed several economic agreements involving major companies in sectors such as transport, energy, agriculture, culture and science during President Emmanuel Macron’s trip to China, the Elysée said on Thursday.

Macron arrived in China on Wednesday together with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and over 50 French business leaders from a wide array of industries.

Together with major companies, France and China discussed and even signed several deals relating key sectors such as transport, energy, agriculture, culture and science, a document from the French presidency seen by EURACTIV reads.

One of the biggest deals that were signed with China will create a new assembly line in French aircraft manufacturer Airbus’ Tianjin factory so the company can double its production capacity of A320 models. The new line is scheduled to be fully operational in 2025.

French energy company EDF also renewed its agreement with the Chinese nuclear leader CGN – signed in 2007 – which allows the construction of new nuclear power plants.

On the agricultural side, water and waste management company Suez has won a contract for a seawater desalination project.

L’Oréal, the world’s leading cosmetics company, also struck a three-year partnership deal with Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba on the theme of “sustainable consumption”.

At the same time, Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping also agreed on cultural matters.

According to one of the deals struck, the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City of Beijing will organise an exhibition entitled “The Palace of Versailles and the Forbidden City, exchanges between France and China in the 18th Century,” in partnership with the Palace of Versailles. This exhibition was initially scheduled for 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic.

The two countries also expressed their wish to facilitate obtaining visas for the mobility of students and teachers working in the scientific field.

“I would not be complete without also mentioning the action of the French Development Agency, which is focusing on the fight against climate change in China, drawing on the expertise of our companies,” Macron said in a joint statement with his Chinese counterpart on Thursday.

Meanwhile, von der Leyen declared that the trade relationship between the EU and China is increasingly imbalanced.

“The EU is becoming more vigilant about protecting its interests and dependencies to ensure a level playing field,” von der Leyen told reporters in Beijing.

Macron will be leaving China on Friday.

(Clara Bauer-Babef, Charles Szumski | EURACTIV.fr and Reuters)