France welcomes Chinese investment, not 'looting': minister

FlagFrench President Emmanuel Macron and French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire attend a meeting at the start-up incubator Soho3Q in Beijing China

FlagFrench President Emmanuel Macron and French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire attend a meeting at the start-up incubator Soho3Q in Beijing China

Macron and Xi also saw eye-to-eye on the battle against climate change, with both voicing their commitment to the Paris accord in the face of US President Donald Trump's pledge to withdraw from the pact.

French President Emmanuel Macron, second from left, and his wife Brigitte Macron, left, pose with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan in Beijing on Monday.

President Xi Jinping shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron after meeting the press at the Great Hall of the People on Tuesday in Beijing.

Both leaders met at the Great Hall of the People during the French President's first official visit to China and discussed bilateral, European and global cooperation, Efe news reported.

A key issue for Macron, invoked several times during his visit, is reciprocity, or obtaining the same level of access for European and other foreign companies to China's state-dominated economy as Chinese companies enjoy overseas.

"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.

Xi said the two countries would hold more high-level talks on trade. But trade tensions are also on the rise between China and the USA, home to Airbus rival Boeing. "And today, with the new Silk Road being created, I think that the partnership between France and China can avoid repeating these mistakes".

Macron, traveling with a French business delegation, wanted to secure deals that might produce greater access to China's growing market. "But at the same time, China needs the global market to cope with the growing pressure (to open up more) and its slowing economy", Zhang said. During the visit of the French Head of State, several large deals were signed, the value of which was also not publicly announced.

New orders for Airbus jetliners have historically featured during such visits by French leaders.

In a formal statement following Macron's visit, France and China said they were exploring new plane contracts and discussing openings for the A330, A350 and A380 wide-body models.

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