French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe traveled to China for a four-day visit.
The prime minister insisted on establishing new balanced trade relations between France and China, in order to reduce the 30-billion-euro-trade deficit.
He started his visit by going to Shenzhen on June 22, 2018 to meet French entrepreneurs settled in China’s high tech hub city.
He then traveled to Shanghai to visit the deep-water port. On May 31, the ports of Shanghai and Marseille signed an agreement to boost cooperation, particularly regarding sustainable development. Before flying back to France,Edouard Philippe hold talks with President Xi Jinping to deepen relations between China and France.
Edouard Philippe encouraged French companies to take part in the “Belt and Road initiative” and asked Beijing to make this program even more transparent to increase foreign participations. Some European states are still reluctant to join the BRI, mainly because they have difficulties in understanding the BRI concept. China must continue to make didactic efforts to explain the “Belt and Road” program.
The European Union also needs to propose original projects within the framework of the BRI; China cannot be the sole initiator of the BRI, foreign states, and especially the European Union members must seize this concept and work jointly with China to further the new Silk Roads. China expects a real strategy from the EU for the BRI.
China and the European Union, despite some differences, are working to reduce their customs barriers and promote their trade. Thus, during Edouard Philippe’s visit, China agreed to lift the ban on French beef imports. This decision will open up new markets for the French agri-food sector.
Given the threat represented by Donald Trump’s protectionist policies, China and the European Union must continue to cooperate to strengthen free trade.