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Interview: China's dynamic economy offers lucrative business opportunities: French junior minister

By Sonia Oussini (Xinhua)    09:44, July 17, 2015

PARIS, July 16 -- "China remains a country with many opportunities for our businesses, because of its economic dynamism," said Matthias Fekl, French junior minister for tourism and foreign trade.

Speaking to Xinhua in a written interview, Fekl noted that expanding growth in Beijing created a broader middle class whose demand of goods keeps increasing, and local companies should take advantage of this trend.

"Each year, millions of Chinese citizens rise to the middle class and buy equipment for their houses, purchase a car, use new services, and travel. These are opportunities that our businesses can and must seize via exports from France or by setting up there," the government official said.

According to data issued by the French national statistics institute, Insee, 11,552 French companies exported to China in 2013 with the majority of them small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and mid-cap companies (ETI).

In addition, 1,500 French businesses were set up over the period in China, mainly in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.

To Fekl, "France is an important trade partner of China," as it is the second largest exporter to the Asian country after Germany in Europe. Last year, France's sales to China totalled 16.2 billion euros (about 17.7 billion U.S. dollars).

However, "the trade relationship between France and China remains unbalanced, as our trade deficit reached 26 billion euros in 2014, France's highest deficit in the world," he acknowledged, reiterating both countries' leaders willingness to boost trade links by "structuring partnership".

In this context, the eurozone's second largest power wants to strengthen cooperation in promising sectors such as food processing, health services, cities' development, and new technologies "in which China needs are important and French expertise is well-known".

In 2014, French sales to China rose by 9.7 percent with the aeronautic sector being the star performer with 24.6 percent growth, followed by the auto industry and telecommunications whose sales grew by 19 percent and 14.3 percent respectively.

"These figures reflect the strengths of the French offer, and the structure of French exports reflects the dynamism of the new needs of the emerging Chinese middle class," said the French junior minister.

France is the world's fifth largest exporter mainly of aeronautics, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, luxury goods and food processing.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Zhang Qian,Yao Chun)

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