BEIJING: President Emmanuel Macron offered on Tuesday to open up the French economy to Chinese investment in exchange for greater access to China’s booming markets, warning in talks in Beijing that existing trade imbalances would lead to protectionism.
On the first state visit of his eight-month-old presidency, Macron is hoping greater openness from China, coupled with lobbying from the 50-strong business delegation travelling with him, will help narrow the 30-billion-euro ($36 bn) trade deficit Paris runs with Beijing.
But despite bringing with him a delegation of French business, finance and industry – including senior executives from Airbus, BNP Paribas, AccorHotels , EDF and LVMH – there were no immediate announcements on the second leg of his three-day trip of major deals. Instead, smaller contracts or commitments to go on talking were signed.
BNP Paribas was set to announce plans for a joint-venture on consumer credit, a French official in Beijing said, adding that French nuclear group Areva had “never been so close” to signing a contract to build a nuclear waste reprocessing plant in China.
“We have an access to markets which is unbalanced, unsatisfying,” Macron told members of the French and Chinese business community at a start-up incubator in Beijing.
“If we don’t deal with this responsibly, the first natural reaction will be to close up on both sides.” In his short time in office, 40-year-old Macron has managed to push through reforms to France’s labour market and seen a steady rise in business and consumer confidence. Growth forecasts for 2018 have been upgraded.
Courtesy-Dawn, January 10th, 2018