Source: China State Council Information Office
China and France, representatives of Eastern and Western civilizations, sent a strong message to the world at the ongoing China International Import Expo (CIIE) of firmly safeguarding multilateralism and free trade, and building an open world economy.
In his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the second CIIE Tuesday in Shanghai, Chinese President Xi Jinping presented a prospect of jointly building an open world economy through cooperation, with innovation and for mutual benefits, while calling on countries to stand firm against protectionism and unilateralism.
Sharing Xi’s view, French President Emmanuel Macron said resorting to unilateralism, protectionism, tariffs or the law of the jungle will not resolve the problems the world is facing.
Macron, who visited Shanghai for the first time, said he was deeply impressed by the city. “From here I see the openness and future of China.”
France is one of the guest countries of honor at the ongoing CIIE running from Nov. 5 to 10, and more than 50 innovation-themed activities will be held in the French booth. Over 80 French firms, from luxury giant LVMH to Air Liquide, are making a strong presence at the event.
“This shows that French companies are mobilized to seize the opportunities in the Chinese market and we are very confident of the future,” said Benoit Guidee, French consul general in Shanghai, at the expo.
“The French booth is the expression of the in-depth and diverse relationship between our two countries,” said Christophe Lecourtier, general director of Business France. He added that the French booth features four key themes, which are farm produce, sustainable development, health and well-being, as well as innovation, fully highlighting the French know-how.
Besides attending the CIIE opening ceremony, Macron was also in China for a state visit as the two countries mark the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
During talks between Xi and Macron in Beijing Wednesday, Xi said the two countries, as two permanent members of the UN Security Council and representatives of Eastern and Western civilizations, should strengthen strategic communication, shoulder more responsibilities and exercise their roles as major countries, as the world is undergoing changes rarely seen in a century.
He proposed six goals the two countries should focus on, including furthering cooperation on large-scale projects and expanding the two-way opening-up of their markets.
Macron said during the talks that French companies are eagerly looking forward to taking the opportunity of China’s expanded opening-up, further entering the Chinese market, expanding exports of agricultural products to China, and strengthening cooperation in areas such as aviation, aerospace and civilian nuclear energy, as well as sci-tech innovation and finance.
While in Shanghai, accompanied by Macron, Xi visited the French booth at the CIIE and tasted French wine and beef.
“The CIIE has created a unique opportunity to engage with customers and bring the company’s innovation to Chinese consumers faster,” said Bruno Chevot, senior vice president of Danone, noting that the Paris-based food company has already signed up for the third CIIE. Danone brought more than 120 products to the expo this year, up 50 percent from the previous CIIE.
L’Oreal China exhibits 11 brands in the high-end section of the consumer goods exhibition area. “The openness of China, shown through this expo, will allow companies to bring its best to Chinese consumers,” said the company’s CEO Fabrice Megarbane.
China-France trade surpassed 60 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, a record high, thanks to China’s increasing opening-up.
“The development of bilateral relations will surely boost economic cooperation, and the Chinese market will offer more opportunities to French firms,” said Bai Ming, an expert with a research institute affiliated to China’s Commerce Ministry.