French President Emmanuel Macron calls for reset of economic ties with China

French President Emmanuel Macron calls for reset of economic ties with China

French President Emmanuel Macron is calling for an update of the country’s economic ties with China, just as the country’s leader Xi Jinping is expected to travel to France for a State visit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron (REUTERS)

In a wide-ranging interview with La Tribune Dimanche, the French president says Europe wants more reciprocity in its economic ties with China, in order to better ensure its economic security.

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“I’m calling for an ‘aggiornamento’ because China is now in excess capacity in many areas and exports massively to Europe,” Macron said in the interview, using the Italian word for update.

Xi is expected to land in France Sunday afternoon, the first stop of a five-day tour in Europe. The visit comes as ties reach their most fraught point in decades, amid a series of probes by the European Union into excessive subsidies and accusations of spying and state-sponsored cyberattacks from China.

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Though Macron is said to have backed a key EU investigation into Chinese EVs late last year, he’s also on a charm offensive as he tries to entice investment from the world’s No. 2 economy.

After hosting Xi at a dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris, he will take his Chinese guest to a part of the Pyrenees mountains where he spent time at his grandmother’s house as a child. Xi last year invited Macron to share tea at the residence of the Guangdong governor, a post once held by his father.

Depite Macron’s tough stance on economic issues, the French president is defending Europe’s role as an balancing power that allows China to remain included in the global discussion.

“Let’s be clear, I’m not proposing to distance ourselves from China,” he said in the interview. “Whether it’s about climate or about safety, we need the Chinese.”

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