Caixin
Jan 11, 2018 07:36 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Macron Defends Lack of Trade Deals Inked on Beijing Trip

French President Emmanuel Macron has responded to criticism of the small number of trade deals signed in China during his visit by saying,
French President Emmanuel Macron has responded to criticism of the small number of trade deals signed in China during his visit by saying, "I don’t want to leave the impression that I am going to China to sign large contracts." Above, Macron holds a news conference at the French Embassy in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: Visual China

French President Emmanuel Macron’s three-day visit to China concluded this week after the 40-year-old leader visited several Chinese cities and struck a series of trade deals between French and Chinese companies.

But the amount of these deals is nowhere near the $250 billion inked during U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit in November, leading to disappointment back in France.

In response, Macron said, “I don’t want to leave the impression that I am going to China to sign large contracts. I place more importance on the follow-up results,” Reuters reported.

Still, a total of 21 billion euros ($25.1 billion) worth of deals was reportedly signed for three of the deals, including for Airbus jetliners and nuclear plants — although only 3 billion euros of this total was confirmed.

Following is a list of the deals made:

An order of Airbus A320s was confirmed, but the scale of the deal is unknown. Bloomberg estimated it to be around 18 billion euros. The nations’ respective heads of state encouraged cooperation surrounding the Airbus A330, A350 and A380.

French power company Areva and state-owned China National Nuclear Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding to build a nuclear waste-disposal and recycling site in China. The deal was estimated at around $1 billion. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the contract will be signed this spring, adding that France has “made efforts on the pricing” to ensure the deal is done.

French power company Electricite de France SA, or EDF, signed contracts with the city of Sanya, Hainan province, and with Lingbao, Henan province. The Sanya will deal will see EDF design a cold- and hot-water system for the resort city. For the Lingbao deal, EDF received a 30-year contract to run a biomass power plant.

French food-services multinational Sodexo signed a five-year contract with China’s Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer, to provide building-management services.

French jet engine-maker CFM International inked an agreement to deliver 2.9 billion euros’ worth of engines to China’s Spring Airlines.

Fives, a French engineering company, signed a memorandum of understanding with JD.com Inc. to provide the Chinese e-commerce giant with technology and products and improve the firm’s logistics automation. JD.com, meanwhile, will set up a logistics center in France, and it agreed to purchase French food and luxury products. JD.com estimated that it will sell 2 billion euros of French products over the next two years.

The two countries also reached consensus to lift the ban on importing French beef to China within six months.

In addition to the deals, the Sino-France Entrepreneur Association was founded under the sponsorship of China’s Ministry of Commerce and France’s Ministry of Economy and Finance. The association’s membership includes top enterprises from both nations.

The Chinese membership includes Bank of China, China National Nuclear Corp., SINOMACH, Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China, China Investment Corp., Dongfeng Motor Group, China National Building Materials Group, China Poly Group, China Guangdong Nuclear Group, China National Chemical Corp., China Mobile Communications Group, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Huawei, JD.com and ZTE Corp.

The French counterparts include Schneider Electric, Air Liquide, Airbus SE, Areva, Biomerieux, BNP Paribas, Danone, Dassault Systemes, EDF, Fives, Groupe SEB, LVMH, Michelin, PMU, Sanofi, Sodexo, and Suez.

Contact reporter Zhang Qizhi (qizhizhang@caixin.com)

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