Macron and his wife first state visit of china

Beijing, Jan 10, 2018: French president Emmanuel Macron has used a mix of flattery and threats to try to reset the trade relationship with Beijing, insisting on the need for more “balanced collaboration” with the EU during his first state visit to China. Mr Macron praised Beijing’s commitment to multilateralism and its willingness to engage with global leaders on issues including climate change and terrorism. But the 40-year-old French president also warned that modern trade links between China and Europe should be “shared,” in a reference to China’s reluctance to open some of its domestic markets. He justified a push to tighten the screening of Chinese investments in the EU and protect its “strategic sectors” by pointing to Beijing’ similarly restrictive policies towards Western investors. “I wish that the new silk roads allow for this balanced co-operation,” Mr Macron said during a joint press conference with Xi Jinping in Beijing on Tuesday. “We [the EU] need to have a more co-ordinated approach to give China more visibility . . . We want to facilitate Chinese investments in Europe in predefined sectors.” Turning to the Chinese leader, he added: “Just as you want to facilitate European investments in sectors you will have defined.” France is targeting improved diplomatic and trade relations with China as the Asian power increases its share of global business and the US shows signs of retreating from the world stage. Mr Macron has praised China’s endorsement of the Paris climate change accord to curb global warming, after US President Donald Trump announced his country’s withdrawal. The French president said the 2015 accord would have collapsed had China not reiterated its support. Mr Macron took about 50 French chief executives to China and is pushing for export contracts to boost growth at home. But the French president, who is fighting high unemployment and domestic working class anger towards globalisation, also sought to convey the message that the EU would now demand reciprocity and fairer practices in its trading exchanges. French plans to restrict the scope of Chinese investments in the EU and to beef up the bloc’s anti-dumping trade tools have alarmed Beijing.
n the past, EU leaders often avoided sensitive topics when dealing with China. Emmanuel Macron has adroitly sent a very different message,” Philippe Le Corre, senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, said. “China wants to play a bigger role on the global stage and is aware of a mounting backlash against its influence. Meanwhile Macron is trying to position himself as the leader speaking on behalf of Europe.” Underlining increased defiance towards Chinese investors, Bruno Le Maire, France’s finance minister who accompanied Mr Macron, said on Tuesday that he was “rejecting many” investments from China he viewed as “plundering” attempts. Mr Le Maire said he would propose a measure next week to enhance a 2014 French decree requiring foreign companies to get permission from the state before buying French companies in the energy, telecoms, transport, water and health sectors. In Beijing, Mr Macron and Mr Xi sought to set aside differences as they toured the Forbidden City, the imperial palace of past dynasties, before meeting Chinese technology entrepreneurs and French chefs working in the capital. The French leader was expected to return home with the promise of about 50 export contracts, including a pledge from Beijing to buy a €10bn nuclear fuel recycling plant from French state-owned company Areva.
Source: Financial times

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