France welcomes #China investment, not 'looting' says minister

Emmanuel Macron China France France China relations Beijing Xi Jimping EU world news indian express news

In a speech in the western city of Xi'an on the first day of an official visit, Macron said he would propose to his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, a joint "year of ecological transition" to mobilize their governments and companies.

Macron did not say which EU countries he thought should needed to shield their assets more vigorously but, after struggling under strict austerity rules imposed by its European partners, Greece for one has embraced China's cash.

He and Xi also agreed to pursue a comprehensive and strategic partnership.

Macron agreed France would like to take an active part in the Belt and Road Initiative, and said France would work with China to address common challenges of the global community such as climate change.

The two leaders witnessed the signing of dozens of agreements covering areas including environmental protection, finance, agriculture and people-to-people exchanges.

A short video Macron posted on social media went viral among Chinese internet users, who were impressed with the French president's efforts to learn a phrase in their language.

Unveiled in 2013, the Belt and Road project is aimed at connecting China by land and sea to Southeast Asia, Pakistan and Central Asia, and beyond to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

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I would like this rebalancing to translate itself into more Chinese investment in France and into more access to the Chinese market for French companies.

"If we don't deal with this responsibly, the natural reaction, the one we've had for too long, will be to close up on both sides", the French president said.

He also urged European nations to take a more "coordinated approach" on trade with China. Also, the emerging "Made in China" plan has also shaken the sales of French products in China.

Meanwhile, French beef producers hailed a deal reached during Macron's visit that China would end its embargo on French beef imposed in 2001 after Europe's "mad cow" disease scare of the late 1990s.

The United States and European Union are now looking at ways to tighten scrutiny of foreign investments and Macron is an advocate of a tighter screening mechanism in Europe for some sectors. But for now, it's unclear if anything will change soon. He told President Xi Jinping to open up Chinese markets to foreign investment, or risk a protectionist backlash.

The trip comes as Britain's impending departure from the European Union and the more inward-looking policies of U.S. President Donald Trump have raised the prospect of a possible realignment of global influence.

If China continues to ignore such calls, however, the relationship is likely to only continue to deteriorate.

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