Macron Returns Fully Loaded from China

From 5 to 7 April 2023, French President Emmanuel Macron led a delegation of about 80 people on an official visit to China. The delegation was composed nearly of 60 captains of the French industry and also included some artists such as Jean-Jacques Annaud and Jean-Michel Jarre whose spouse Gong Li is a well-known Chinese actress.

In the corporate line-up, the usual suspects were present such as Airbus, EDF, CMA-CGM, LVMH, L’Oreal, to mention just a few, as well as the Chateau de Versailles, Pompidou Centre and the Beauval Zoo. The Beauval Zoo made the cut for having the distinct privilege of hosting pandas with twin babies which are the star attraction of the park.

Key Outcomes of President Macron’s Visit to China

Nearly 20 agreements were inked in various sectors from aerospace, agribusiness, energy to luxury products. The biggest deal is the supply of 160 A32X to China by Airbus. The deal was announced previously but was put on hold due to COVID. After the pandemic, China is now ready to reconfirm its order. It is worth highlighting that the trade war between China and USA probably contributed to shift the balance in favor of Airbus at the expense of Boeing.

A closer look a the list of deals signed reveals a ‘green slant’ in line with global effort towards #NetZero. In particular, Airbus and CMA-CGM will work on renewable fuels for aircrafts and ships respectively. EDF and CGN signed an agreement to build more nuclear plants in China which will contribute to shift the energy mix away from coal and ease the #EnergyTransition. To further promote #decarbonization, both countries will also partner to implement an offshore wind farm. In addition, GTT and Pipe China will work on building transport and storage facilities for LNG which is considered less polluting than oil or coal.

France and China also agreed to continue to work together on other international issues such as biodiversity. Macron confirmed that France will participate in the 3rd #BRI Forum and CIFTIS later this year while Xi Jinping confirmed that China will be present at the Summit for New Global Financial Pact 2023 in Paris and UN Conference on the Oceans 2025 jointly organized by France and Costa Rica.

In 2024, France and China will celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations. Thus, both sides agreed to declare 2024 as the Sino-French Culture and Tourism Year with a series of activities planned. If all goes well, President Xi Jinping will in turn make an official visit to France for the occasion.