Published: 11:07, July 31, 2023 | Updated: 11:07, July 31, 2023
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Beijing willing to deepen ties with France
By Wang Keju

China stands ready to work with France to advance the mutually beneficial economic and financial cooperation between the two countries, Vice-Premier He Lifeng said.

He made the remarks on Saturday in Beijing while co-chairing the ninth China-France High-Level Economic and Financial Dialogue with French Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry and Digital Sovereignty Bruno Le Maire.

He noted that economic and trade ties between China and France, under the strategic guidance of the two heads of state, have shown strong resilience and sound development momentum.

China is willing to further strengthen policy communication with France, deepen practical cooperation and closely coordinate international and multilateral affairs, in order to push the China-France comprehensive strategic partnership to a new height, the vice-premier said.

Le Maire said that France is willing to strengthen cooperation with China in the fields of economy and finance and keep moving France-China relations forward.

Data from the General Administration of Customs showed that France is China's third-largest trading partner in the European Union, accounting for 10 percent of China-EU trade volume. In particular, France remains China's top source for cosmetics and wine imports, and the second-largest supplier of bags and suitcases.

The two countries pledged support for providing fair and nondiscriminatory conditions of competition for enterprises, particularly in the fields of cosmetics, agriculture and agri-food products, healthcare, finance, energy and sustainable development, according to a statement jointly issued by the two sides.

In the field of the digital economy, including 5G, France will steer clear of unjustness and discrimination while handling the license applications of Chinese companies on the basis of the laws and regulations, the statement added.

To further facilitate cross-border investment, both sides are committed to supporting continuous progress on the France-China Cooperation Fund, it said.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, by the end of 2021, direct Chinese investment in France topped $4.8 billion, while as many as 6,687 French enterprises have been established in China, bringing France's total actual investment to $19.55 billion.

The two countries will resume air connectivity in a well-paced manner, with airlines of both sides enjoying fair and equal opportunities in the operation of flights between the two countries, according to the statement.

In addition, China and France will continue their cooperation in science, technology and innovation cooperation and civil nuclear energy development to help decarbonize their economies, the statement said.

On Monday, Le Maire is to visit Shenzhen, Guangdong province, and meet with executives of Chinese companies, including those of leading new energy vehicle maker BYD and XTC New Energy Materials, according to Chinese news website Caixin.