China, France sign deals worth $15 bln during visit

French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping after a joint news conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China Nov. 6, 2019. Photo: Reuters/Jason Lee/POOL

Beijing | Reuters – China and France signed contracts totalling $15 billion during a visit by President Emmanuel Macron, a Chinese government official told a news briefing on Wednesday.

Deals were struck in the fields of aeronautics, energy and agriculture, including approval for 20 French companies to export poultry, beef and pork to China.

They also agreed to expand a protocol for poultry exports reached this year to include duck and geese as well as foie gras, and to work on a protocol allowing France to export pig semen to China, said a statement from Macron’s office.

Macron arrived in China on Monday and was due to leave later on Wednesday.

Energy deals included a memorandum of understanding between Beijing Gas Group and French utility Engie to collaborate on a liquefied natural gas terminal and storage in the northern city of Tianjin.

An executive with Beijing Gas Group told Reuters that the cooperation with Engie would include the French firm supplying membrane technology, used for gas leak prevention, in the massive gas storage projects that China is embarking on.

Among other deals, France’s Total will set up a joint venture with China’s Shenergy Group to distribute LNG by truck in the Yangtze River Delta.

The two countries also agreed to reach an agreement by the end of January on the cost and location of a nuclear fuel reprocessing facility to be built by Orano, formerly known as Areva.

Previous plans to build the plant in Lianyungang in eastern China’s Jiangsu province were cancelled after protests.

Separately, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said China would support its firms’ purchases of Airbus aircraft.

Xinhua said the two countries agreed to work together to push forward the completion and delivery centre programme of the European planemaker’s A350 model, as well as step up investment by Airbus in China.

China and France hope to boost cooperation, particularly in the helicopter sector as well as on aircraft engines and pilot training, it said.

Airbus, in a separate press release, said its Tianjin completion and delivery centre in northern China was expected to deliver the first A350 widebody jet by 2021.

– Additional reporting by Aizhu Chen in Singapore

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