In Beijing, French small business neighborhood welcomes Macron’s overtures

BEIJING, April 6 (Reuters) – Amid the French business enterprise executives travelling to Beijing with President Emmanuel Macron, the temper was cautiously sanguine on the thawing post-pandemic trade potential clients with China, with some rejecting American-led calls for ‘decoupling’.

Macron travelled to China with a 50-powerful delegation of company leaders including the CEOs of Airbus (AIR.PA), Alstom (ALSO.PA) and EDF (EDF.PA), boosting eyebrows among some diplomats that this could blur the concept of firmness the West wants to mail at a time of heightened pressure among Beijing and the United States.

In the French embassy’s gardens, exactly where Macron tackled the French neighborhood on Wednesday night, the president’s rejection of what he called an “inescapable spiral” of stress that would direct to slicing off ties with China was broadly welcomed.

“It truly is incredibly fantastic that the president came. It demonstrates the business enterprise neighborhood is supported by the president, it is incredibly essential vis-à-vis the Chinese authorities,” Thierry de la Tour d’Artaise, chairman of French equipment group SEB (SEBF.PA), informed Reuters.

“People today never know this region well, a lot of the matters currently being reported are untrue,” he explained. “I really don’t believe the People question for our belief when they journey listed here, so it is pretty fantastic for France to do its own items and bear duty for it.”

His corporation, which sells wok pans, blenders and rice cookers under the Supor model name, is the chief in tiny kitchen area appliances in China, he mentioned.

The sizing of Macron’s company delegation was criticised by some commentators, although.

“A few-quarters of the delegation are company leaders: the objective is very first and foremost to sign contracts,” Raphael Glucksmann, a left-wing member of the European parliament, wrote on Twitter in advance of Macron’s check out.

“At a time the discussion in Europe focuses on our suicidal dependency on China and Chinese interference, the information is inopportune,” he explained.

But asked by Reuters irrespective of whether there was any contradiction amongst European leaders’ connect with to “de-chance” their relationship with China and his important small business offensive, Macron himself turned down this argument.

“Strategic autonomy will not suggest autarky,” Macron mentioned soon after the speech at the embassy.

France had been careful not to permit its strategic telecoms operators and electrical power vendors tumble beneath non-European possession, but there ended up even now organization chances in sectors exactly where nationwide safety was not a hazard, this kind of as agriculture, Macron stated.

“It can be the big difference involving de-jeopardizing and decoupling,” he mentioned.

Working in China however presented worries for French corporations, China-based French expats mentioned.

“They are pushing us to transfer technologies and we refuse. It really is a recreation of cat and mouse, but we nonetheless control to do good matters,” a Beijing-dependent engineer doing the job for French aerospace corporation Safran advised Reuters.

Reporting by Michel Rose Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

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