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Hollande in China with hopes of nuclear, Airbus deals

media Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) French President Francois Hollande Reuters/Mark Ralston/Pool

French President Francois Hollande arrived in Beijing on Thursday on a trip aimed at boosting exports to China, especially in the fields of aviation and nuclear power.

Hollande, who will be the first Western leader to be received in the Chinese capital by new President Xi Jinping, is accompanied by a delegation of businessmen hoping to increase their share of the Chinese market.

France accounts for just 1.3 percent of China's foreign trade compared with around five percent for Germany. Paris also has a trade deficit with China of 26 billion euros.

Hopes are high that French nuclear giant Areva and the Chinese energy group
CNNC will sign letters of intent on the construction of a nuclear waste treatment facility, while Airbus is hoping to tie down some orders from Chinese airlines.

Carmaker Renault hopes to move forward with negotiations on a proposed factory at Wuhan which would produce 150,000 vehicles per year.

France is also pushing for greater access to the Chinese market for its charcuterie (cooked pork meat) producers.

Aides to Hollande believe the Chinese yuan is seriously undervalued and expect the issue to be raised during his two-day visit, though there is little hope of significant progress

The French president is expected to have three meetings with Xi, including a state banquet on Thursday and a more intimate lunch on Friday where the two men will be accompanied by their respective partners, Valerie Trierweiler and Peng Liyuan.

 

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