In Shanghai, Emmanuel Macron Calls on China to Further Open its Market

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French President Emmanuel Macron and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping visit the French pavilion at the International Import Fair in Shanghai on November 5, 2019

On the second day of his visit to China, the French president, Emmanuel Macron notably called on Beijing to cooperate with Europe to fight against unilateral temptations.

On a state visit to Shanghai , Emmanuel Macron called Tuesday 5th November 2019 China to “consolidate” the opening of its huge market to foreign companies and to cooperate with Europe to fight against unilateral temptations, against a background of tensions increasing trade.

“We need a greater openness of China and its market,” proclaimed the French head of state during the opening ceremony of the Shanghai Import Fair on the second day of his visit in China.

For him, “much has been done in recent years” by Beijing, including “significant tariff cuts” or “reforms in the financial sector.”

But “we call for their consolidation and deepening,” he added.

For his second visit in two years in China, Emmanuel Macron is accompanied by the bosses of the main French companies active in the most populated country in the world, but also by companies seeking to establish themselves there but which sometimes face important barriers.

“China’s door will open ever wider,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping, who opened the fair.

He also called for “strong opposition to protectionism and unilateralism”, while Beijing is engaged in a standoff with Washington, for which a cautious optimism has emerged in recent weeks.

French President Emmanuel Macron leaves the rostrum after a speech at the inauguration of the Shanghai International Import Fair, November 5, 2019.
French President Emmanuel Macron leaves the rostrum after a speech at the inauguration of the Shanghai International Import Fair, November 5, 2019. (© AFP / HECTOR RETAMAL)


Emmanuel Macron said he hoped for a trade agreement between the two main economies “that preserves the interests” of other countries, starting with those of the European Union, the first economic partner of Beijing.

Without naming his American counterpart Donald Trump, he denounced the recourse “unilateral action, the tariff weapon and the law of the strongest” because “the trade war is only losers” by weighing on global growth .

Donald Trump has already announced that under the agreement under discussion with China, Beijing would commit to buy more agricultural products in the United States.

For Emmanuel Macron, the EU and China must work on “an agenda of cooperation and harmony”, beyond the “sometimes deep” differences between their two models.

“What young Chinese can be convinced of the interest of opening international trade if it does not help him to live better, to feed himself better? What young French can be convinced of the interest of openness if it makes him more dependent on technological choices made elsewhere and less master of his destiny? He asked himself.

Read also: In Shanghai, Emmanuel Macron calls on Europeans to “compete” against the Chinese

Beaubourg Shanghai

On the commercial front, about forty contracts must be announced during the visit which ends Wednesday, especially in the fields of aeronautics, space or agriculture, according to the Elysee.

China is currently France’s 7th largest customer and second-largest supplier. French exports to this country grew by 11% last year and represented 21 billion euros.

During the visit of the French stand at the fair with Emmanuel Macron, Xi Jinping was to savour a steak of Salers beef, considered among the tastiest.

French agribusiness companies hope to benefit from the agreement on protected geographical indications (PGI) to be signed Wednesday in Beijing between China and the European Union. It should make it possible to better “protect the know-how”, according to Emmanuel Macron, in 26 French PGIs, Bordeaux wine with Comté cheese.

Beijing says $ 57.8 billion worth of contracts were signed during the first edition of the Shanghai Fair, held last year. But foreign groups do not seem excited: only half of its members have signed contracts on this occasion and “many” of them “have not been followed,” according to a study by the European Chamber of Commerce. Shanghai.

In the afternoon, Emmanuel Macron was to inaugurate the new Center Georges Pompidou, destined to become one of the new cultural places of Shanghai, a sprawling metropolis of 24 million inhabitants.

Then he and his wife Brigitte, Xi Jinping and his wife, Singer Peng Liyuan, will meet for a private dinner in the heart of old Shanghai, in Yu Garden, considered one of the most beautiful gardens in China.

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