French energy company EDF to replace coal in China

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"We're confident we'll achieve more than symbolic stuff", a French official said, on condition of anonymity.

An order for 184 A320s would be worth around $20 billion at list prices, but buyers often secure discounts when buying in bulk.

Macron, who pledged to visit China at least once every year during his mandate, said the new infrastructure and cultural projects promoted by China could also be in France's and Europe's interest if done in a spirit of cooperation.

A France expert from the China Development Research Center, named Ding Yifan said Macron really respects Chinese history and that he saw the gift as an allusion to the Qianlima.

Airbus had already announced on Tuesday an agreement to increase production of the A320 in China.

In light of the USA announcing its exit from the Paris climate accord, Macron stressed that China had a major role to play on climate change.

"If investors come to France or Europe only to gain access to the best technology without benefiting France or any other European country then they are not welcome", Le Maire told reporters over a lunch with reporters also attended by President Emmanuel Macron.

President Emmanuel Macron's visit was billed as an effort to expand European ties and cooperation with China as Britain prepares to leave the European Union and U.S. President Donald Trump promotes more inward-looking policies.

"Excellent news for France's beef producers, who consider the potential of the Chinese market a strategic opportunity", said France's producers' association Interbev.

"Our beef now has no access (to China) for sanitary reasons".

"What I want is to benefit from the very large market - 120 million Chinese are today traveling outside of China".

But the French leader defended his decision to avoid condemning China's human rights record in public, adding he and his Chinese counterpart had discussed the issue behind closed doors.

Beyond beef, French officials said talks were continuing with China about its ban on French poultry, imposed in 2015 after an outbreak of bird flu.

Other business deals were made during the visit, including one for French state energy giant Areva to help build a nuclear spent fuel reprocessing plant in China. Macron said France will continue its involvement in helping to ease the tensions over North Korea.

He said: "We need a coordinated European approach that gives China more visibility about our agenda".

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