China, France sign major energy, aviation deals

08:20, November 05, 2010      

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China and France signed major industrial deals worth more than $20 billion Thursday at the start of a lavish state visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao and a high-level government and business tourage.

The signings kicked off a 3-day visit by President Hu that France hopes will result in a massive boost to its high-tech manufacturing exports to one of the world's major emerging economies.

China's deputy foreign minister Fu Ying revealed the scale of the deals to reporters after talks between the two presidents and the signing ceremony at the Elysee Palace, where a state dinner was laid on for President Hu Thursday evening.

"The visit is going very well. We have had some great successes," Fu told reporters before the meal. "The Chinese delegation is totally satisfied and has high hopes for future discussions."

Separately announcing details of the contracts, President Sarkozy's office said European plane-maker Airbus struck a deal to supply 102 airliners to Chinese firms at a cost of $14 billion dollars.

Meanwhile, French nuclear giant Areva signed a contract to supply 3.5 billion dollars' worth of uranium to Chinese power firm CNGPC, Areva chief Anne Lauvergeon told reporters.

She added that Areva had also signed a contract to build a uranium treatment plant in China.

A senior presidential aide told reporters after the signing: "France and China ... are going to develop an unprecedented partnership in nuclear energy."

French energy giant Total meanwhile said it was planning to invest two to three billion euros in a Chinese petrochemical plant.

Chinese businesses were due to sign more contracts on Friday at the headquarters of French business asssociation Medef, French presidential officials revealed
France and China have had tense diplomatic ties in recent years, notably over French meetings with the Dalai Lama, but they maintain key economic ties and relations have warmed since 2009.

"China should not be seen as a threat, but an opportunity," Sarkozy said ahead of Hu's arrival.

The visit comes at a delicate moment for Sarkozy, who wants to bring China on board with plans for global currency reform when France takes over the leadership of the Group of 20 major and emerging economies next week in South Korea.

People's Daily Online / Agencies


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