In Shanghai, Emmanuel Macron Calls on Europeans to “Compete” against the Chinese

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French presidents Emmanuel Macron (left) and Chinese Xi Jinping, June 29, 2019 at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron visiting China, says that much more “European cooperation” is needed to compete effectively against the Chinese and American giants.

In full commercial rivalry between Washington and Beijing, Emmanuel Macron began Monday 4th November 2019 his second visit to China by calling on Europeans to speak and act together to better weigh against the Chinese on economic issues.

“There are national agendas (…) but the more we play in Franco-German and especially in Europeans, the more credibility and results we have,” said the head of state a few hours after his arrival in Shanghai.

French and German entrepreneurs

He was speaking to French and German business leaders attending the Shanghai Import Fair, an annual event which France is this year’s guest of honour.

Emmanuel Macron will visit it Tuesday morning with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, who offered Monday evening a gala dinner to the leaders invited to this fair.

For this business meeting, the French president wanted to be accompanied by a German minister, Anja Karliczek, in charge of Education and Research, and a European Commissioner, the Irishman Phil Hogan, current incumbent portfolio of Agriculture and which should take the one of Commerce in the next Commission.

It is, according to Emmanuel Macron, to show that, “in an international context more and more jostled”, much more “European cooperation” is needed to weigh effectively against the Chinese and American giants.

Agreement on geographical origins

For him, this reinforcement is not only essential economically and technologically – especially with the sensitive issue of 5G – but also climatic. Because “if we do not intensify our cooperation, we will not get results” after the departure of the United States of the climate agreement, according to him.

After a first diplomatic trip in January 2018, this second visit to China has a strong commercial dimension with the expected signing of about forty agreements between companies.

Emmanuel Macron is also expected to sign an agreement with Xi Jinping in Beijing on protected geographical indications (PGI), which certifies the origin of European products entering the Chinese market. This agreement, which has been waiting for years, concerns 26 French PGIs, notably wines and cheeses (such as cognac, Beaujolais, Comté or Agen prunes), which will thus be able to benefit from protection at their entry into the country. Chinese market.

For Emmanuel Macron, this agreement, “long overdue”, will represent “a very important step, which is the result of joint action” at European level, since it will concern 100 IPGs of the European Union.

” Without taboo “

For his part, the Chinese president is seeking to strengthen his contacts with Europeans at a time when the economy of his country is slowing down, a decline aggravated by the trade war with the United States.

For the sinologist Jean-Pierre Cabestan, of the Baptist University of Hong Kong, there is no doubt that the American offensive pushes the Chinese to get closer to France and other countries. However, “the Europeans would be naive to believe that they can join China against Trump,” he warns.

“China remains a problem for the WTO, a destabilizing factor in the South China Sea, a threat to Taiwan and an authoritarian pole against Hong Kong and our democratic values,” said the author of “Tomorrow China, democracy or dictatorship? ”

While the Elysee assured that Emmanuel Macron would address “without taboo” these sensitive issues, Beijing has issued a warning to the French president.

Sixth meeting

“Hong Kong and Xinjiang are China’s domestic affairs, it is irrelevant whether it is on the diplomatic agenda,” said a senior official of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Zhu Jing. “If France seeks to play a role of disruption, it is not what we hope to see,” he added, about the French presence in the Indo-Pacific region.

For this sixth meeting in two years, Xi Jinping will pamper the Macron couple, especially during a private dinner with his wife, singer Peng Liyuan, on Tuesday night. The table will be set in the heart of old Shanghai, in Yu Garden, considered one of the most beautiful in China.

Previously, Emmanuel Macron was to inaugurate the new Center Georges Pompidou, destined to become one of the new cultural places of the giant metropolis of 24 million inhabitants.

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