China and France signed contracts totaling $15 billion during a visit by President Emmanuel Macron, a Chinese government official said at a news briefing on Wednesday.
Deals were struck in the fields of aeronautics, energy and agriculture, including approval for 20 French companies to export poultry, beef and pork to China.
Emmanuel Macron’s visit is timed to ease some of the tensions that are stifling global commerce, with the European Union asking China to open its markets further and the U.S. and China in a bitter fight over tariffs.
Macron arrived late Monday in Shanghai, where he visited a sprawling import fair before traveling to Beijing for a state visit on Wednesday.
Speaking at the International Import Expo in Shanghai, Macron said that the EU and China had reached an agreement for the mutual protection of food and alcohol products, to be formally signed Wednesday.
“It’s a step forward in this relationship and it’s very important,” Macron said, alongside Phil Hogan, the EU agriculture commissioner.
Macron’s trip comes as France and its European partners are demanding China make good on commitments to boost imports of agricultural products and manufactured goods while opening its market for financial products and other services.
France and the EU have joined the U.S. in complaints over Chinese trade practices they consider unfair.
Macron said his priority was to discuss cooperation on the economy, technology and climate – “three decisive issues.”
He pushed for the completion by next year of an investment agreement that is currently under discussion between the EU and China.