Macron in China: Xi hails $15 billion trade contracts as ‘strong signal of free trade’https://indianexpress.com/article/world/macron-in-china-xi-hails-15-billion-trade-contracts-as-strong-signal-of-free-trade/

Macron in China: Xi hails $15 billion trade contracts as ‘strong signal of free trade’

French President Macron and Chinese leader Xi have announced fresh trade contracts worth $15 billion amid the ongoing trade war between the US and China. Macron and Xi also agreed to double down on climate change.

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping following a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. (Nicolas Asfouri/Pool Photo via AP)

French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced major trade contracts in Beijing in Wednesday worth $15 billion (€13.5 billion).

Deals were agreed in aeronautics, energy and agriculture. Twenty French companies received approval to export poultry, beef and pork to China.

Macron and Xi announced the contracts during a press conference as part of the French leader’s visit to China.

The news comes amid growing economic tensions between China and the US. Macron visited China along with business delegates from 30 French companies.

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Xi said in a statement that the two leaders had “sent a strong signal to the world about steadfastly upholding multilateralism and free trade, as well as working together to build open economies.”

“Developing market access and partnerships between our companies is a priority,” Macron said on Wednesday. The two countries were aiming to “build a stable partnership on the big questions of the world in a world that is more and more destabilized.”

Macron and Xi also signed an agreement to prevent counterfeit wine and cheese being produced in China.

The news comes on the same day as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a reopening of Canadian beef and pork exports to China.

Xi: Paris Agreement ‘irreversible’

Macron and Xi issued a joint statement reaffirming the importance of the Paris Climate Agreement, calling it “irreversible.” The US began its formal withdrawal from the international climate accord this week.

The two world leaders, apparently in defiance of US President Donald Trump’s decision, acknowledged that “biodiversity loss and climate change threaten global peace and stability” in their statement on the issue.

Macron and Xi pledged to continue for their two countries to work together in the fight to reduce climate change.

Macron: Hong Kong situation must ‘de-escalate’

President Macron also said on Wednesday that he raised the issue of Hong Kong, where ongoing protests have led to great unrest.

Beijing has threatened in recent weeks to crack down on campaigners if the anti-government protests continue.

“I shared our concerns and those of Europe,” Macron said. “We have repeatedly called on the parties involved to dialogue, to show restraint, to de-escalate.”

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The French leader also opened a new Pompidou art museum in Shanghai, named for the original in Paris.