French Minister for Foreign Trade Nicole Bricq will start a three-day visit to China on Sunday to seek "an ambitious and balanced partnership" with China.
The French minister said in a statement she will meet with Chen Deming, the Chinese minister of commerce, and Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner.
Bricq will be accompanied by a dozen French business leaders and professional food-sector associations in hope of boosting more food exports to China. The French ministry predicted that China should see its imports increase by 10 percent by the year 2022. In 2011, France had a 27 billion euro ($35.97 billion) trade deficit with China, according to the ministry.
Bricq, accompanied by Henri Proglio, chairman of French energy company EDF, and Luc Oursel, CEO of French nuclear group Areva, also will visit the site of two nuclear reactors in Taishan, Guangdong province, a symbol of a Chinese-Franco strategic partnership in the nuclear field.
Bricq's visit will follow that of Pierre Moscovici, the French minister of economy and finance, who met Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang earlier this month to promote closer economic relations between the two countries.
The French government officials’ visits are seen as paving the way for French President Francois Hollande's first official visit to China "soon after March", French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said Wednesday in an interview with local broadcaster Europe1.