March 19, 2018

President Xi Jinping holds talks, joint press conference with Macron

12 January 2018, 08:32 | Opal Carroll

President Macron urged to raise human rights during China visit

Xi Macron agree to cooperate on climate trade

The value of the deal was not immediately disclosed, but at list prices for the single-aisle planes it could total at least $18 billion.

Macron, however, called for "balanced cooperation" between the two countries and said he wanted to reduce France's 36-billion-dollar trade deficit with China.

Macron, who is the first foreign head of state to visit China this year, is nonetheless trying to woo China on environmental cooperation now that Beijing stands as the world leader in green efforts since the USA pulled out of the Paris Climate Accords.

France was the first western power to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China in 1964, and Mr Xi said Mr Macron's visit to China showed he was "paying high attention to the China-France relationship".

China, expected to overtake the United States as the world's biggest aviation market by as early as 2022, is a battleground for Airbus and Boeing as the two titans seek to dominate the nation's aviation market. "The future needs France, Europe, and China", Macron is quoted as saying.

"Excellent news for France's beef producers, who consider the potential of the Chinese market a strategic opportunity", the Interbev producers' association said in a statement.

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"Our beef now has no access (to China) for sanitary reasons".

French livestock economist Jean-Marc Chaumet said for French producers the market opening "won't be an Eldorado" because of a "very competitive market".

But the French leader defended his decision to avoid condemning China's human rights record in public, adding he and his Chinese counterpart had discussed the issue behind closed doors.

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, who was among Macron's delegation, said the deal would "better compensate" French cattle ranchers facing a reduction in French beef consumption.

In another breakthrough, China agreed to lift an embargo on French beef within six months. During the visit of the French Head of State, several large deals were signed, the value of which was also not publicly announced. Macron said France will continue its involvement in helping to ease the tensions over North Korea.

During his campaign, the French leader took a "slightly negative" approach to China by pushing for a European-level investment protection agency, but that development seems to have lost ground, Garcia-Herrero said.

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