Visiting Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming and French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde oversaw the signing of more than 40 contracts between a Chinese business delegation and French enterprises in Paris on Friday.
The Chinese procurement team, led by Chen, participated the economic and trade cooperation forum and talks with French enterprises at the French Ministry of Economy, Finance and Employment.
The delegation, including representatives from over 140 Chinese enterprises, signed series of agreements with their French counterparts, covering various fields including automobiles, machinery, aviation, nuclear energy, transportation, electricity, telecommunications and service industries.
Largard spoke highly of the Chinese delegation in her address to the opening ceremony of the forum. French Prime Minister Francois Fillon sent a letter in the morning to Chen to express his welcome.
France attached high significance to this forum, through which the enterprises of two countries can exploit new cooperation areas and reach fruitful agreements, so that Sino-France relations can also gain energy for further development, Fillon said in the letter.
Chen affirmed the importance of China-France cooperation in his speech on the forum.
The impact of the finance crisis is still being felt and there are still uncertainties and destabilizing factors in the world economy, in this context, to promote exchanges between Sino-France enterprises at all levels has great significance for deepening bilateral cooperation and transferring crisis into opportunity, Chen remarked.
The value of the contracts signed on Friday is not known. French State Secretary for Foreign Trade Marie Idrac said some of the contracts have been prepared for a long time, while some others are still under negotiation.
Cooperation between middle and small-sized enterprises and in field of service industry will be discussed during this forum, Idrac added.
Trade between China and France has experienced a slump since late last year. According to China's customs data, for the first three quarters of this year, the two countries' trade volume stood at about $24.6 billion, down 15.6 percent from the same period last year. It was the first year-on-year decline since 1996.
Last month, Lagarde visited China with a delegation of leaders from 25 large business group, and on Friday, Idrac has confirmed Fillon's visit to China before Christmas.
With Serbia, Netherland and Ireland also on agenda, the Chinese delegation to France is the tenth and last procurement team to Europe in 2009. Since this February, hundreds of Chinese entrepreneurs and their European counterparts have talked directly and inked series of deals worth around $15 billion.