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French target stronger ties to Wuhan

Updated: 2013-12-04 12:46
By Liu Kun and Zhou Lihua in Wuhan (

French Consul General Philippe Martinet said he will make sustainable development his main mission as the ties between France and Wuhan have created appealing opportunities.

Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei province, has developed a number of ties with France and is one of the Chinese cities with the most French investment, said Martinet.

China and France established diplomatic ties in 1964.

Wuhan, a sister city to Bordeaux and Essonne, is home to 100 French companies and more than 1,000 French citizens.

Renault, and other leading French enterprises, are set to establish bases in Wuhan.

Martinet said he hopes that, through the efforts of both the consulates and the French Investment Agency, they can attract more Chinese companies to invest in France and strengthen understanding between French and Chinese companies.

Martinet's main mission in Wuhan is to promote Sino-French cooperation on sustainable development.

"In the near future, sustainable development will become the core focus of Sino-French cooperation. And Wuhan city "circle" has already been identified by the French and Chinese governments as a demonstration zone for this plan," Martinet said.

Wuhan city circle, a pilot project approved by the State Council in 2007 to build cities around Wuhan into a resource-conservation and environmentally friendly society, has made the city a hotspot for French investors in sustainable development.

"Cooperation is not only limited to the construction of ecological neighborhoods but also to establish cities that are genuinely sustainable in their development, with innovative measures for urban planning and management, traffic, resources, energy and waste management, among others."

In 2010 France and Hubei province signed a framework agreement for cooperation for sustainable development.

Martinet said the current ties between France and Wuhan have created appealing opportunities.

He said he hopes that, based on their plans, implementation of key projects may get underway soon.

Bordeaux and Wuhan also recently signed an agreement to work on carbon emission diagnostic projects, which is supported by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Martinet said French companies have an excellent track record in expertise and technology regarding healthcare and food safety and are capable of providing Chinese consumers with better services and assisting the Chinese government in improving its managerial and service sectors.

"Be it produce from agriculture or wine, France is a big producer of both as well as the technology involved in sustainable agriculture which can all be shared with China," Martinet said.

He also said that France will continue to encourage even more Chinese students to study in France and the aim is that by 2015 this number will reach 5 million, up from the 3.5 million who are currently there.?

Taking into account that Hubei is home to 1.2 million students, he said he hoped that interest in studying in France could be further promoted both from Hubei and its neighboring central provinces.

In addition, France will continue to increase the number of visas and simplify the application process in a bid to boost two-way tourism.

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