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Economic relations

Our economic and trade relations with China are strongly unbalanced. In 2014, the trade deficit reached €26.3 billion. China accounts for our largest bilateral trade deficit, ahead of Germany. Our market share in China (Chinese figures) was 1.4% in 2014 as against around 5.3% for Germany, 1.2% for the United Kingdom and 1% for Italy. China is our second largest supplier (ahead of the United States and the United Kingdom) and has an 8% market share in France. Our imports from China consist primarily of computer, electronic and optical goods (31%) and textile and leather goods (23%).

This patchy growth of our bilateral trade should not cause us to lose sight of the many successes scored by French businesses in China and of the encouraging prospects arising from new sectors of economic cooperation, including the environment and sustainable development and the financial and agrifood sectors. Our economic and commercial presence in China is supported by around 1400 French businesses. Those good performances help rebalance bilateral economic and trade relations and could be boosted by a greater opening up of China, particularly as regards market access (including public procurement) and the protection of intellectual property, for which issues we expect greater reciprocity.

The "major contracts" continue to hold a significant place in our bilateral trade relations, as shown by the successes of Airbus and Eurocopter, and of Areva in the civil nuclear energy sector. French-Chinese cooperation in the nuclear field is the illustration of a long-term industrial partnership successfully forged by France and China. This partnership was further strengthened in 2010 by the Heads of State’s decision to set up a full partnership covering all stages of the nuclear fuel cycle and by the adoption of a joint statement on civil nuclear energy cooperation in 2015. For over 20 years, French industry (AREVA, Alstom, EDF) has played a major part in building civil nuclear power plants in China (Daya Bay and Ling Ao NPPs). The construction of two EPR power plants in Taishan has helped strengthen this partnership over the long term. Our long-standing cooperation in this area rests on the excellence of France’s nuclear power industry, both in terms of performance and the security of nuclear facilities. Nuclear safety is one of the pillars of this cooperation.

Investment by French businesses in China include setting up joint ventures. Many French businesses have embarked on such partnerships, like Alstom, Michelin, Veolia, Citroën and Lafarge. Investment by French businesses in China is therefore an increasingly large component of our economic relationship.

Chinese investments in France are increasing. They account today for a stock of around €4.3 billion and employ almost 13,000 people. France wishes to promote and support the development of Chinese investments provided that they create growth and jobs.

update: 07.10.15



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