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While he will reassure the stability of the eurozone, President Francois Hollande has to convince Chinese of the attractiveness of France. This will be the message he will deliver at the economic forum held in Beijing on Thursday. Among the stated aims of the trip, the Elysee will also prominently highlight the "benefits" of France and its "competitiveness".
One of the issues of the presidential visit is to regain lost ground by French investors. From 1983 to 2011, the French market share in China eroded slightly, from 1.4 percent to 1.27 percent, while that of Germany was consolidated from 5 percent to 5.33 percent.
The revival of French exports to China is a necessity. To meet this goal, rather than relying on large contracts, France should put an emphasis on supporting medium-sized enterprises. It is recognized that France has missed the first phase of China's development. But we want to believe that it has everything to fully take part in the development of the Chinese economy in the areas of sustainable development and urban transportation.
Francois Hollande's first state visit on Thursday and Friday to Beijing and Shanghai will be short - 36 hours - but the objectives that have been set are high. Hollande, who arrived in Beijing escorted by eight ministers and sixty patrons, would like to see a rebalancing of economic relations with China. While progress is expected in the areas of traditional cooperation such as civil nuclear and aerospace, most of the focus will be on breakthroughs in the areas of health, food, digital and sustainable development. The opportunities are offered by a growing middle class in China who can afford to consume entertainment, travel and study abroad. The gradual shift of the Chinese economy toward domestic consumption and an internationalized yuan is offering a window of opportunity for French enterprises.
Radio France International
If economic and monetary issues are at the forefront of Hollande's China visit, diplomacy should not be forgotten either. China has a seat on the Security Council of the United Nations and is therefore an important player on major international issues. Tensions in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Syria, Iran's nuclear program and the situation in Mali will be on the agenda of discussions between Xi Jinping and Francois Hollande.
(China Daily 04/26/2013 page10)