Forum Pushes Co-operations

Former French president Giscard Destaing said yesterday in Beijing that he believes China is taking World Trade Organization (WTO) rules seriously and is showing it will carry out its promises.

The former head of state spoke yesterday at the opening ceremony of the seventh annual Sino-French Economic Seminar.

The two-day seminar, which ends today, touches on a wide range of topics concerning China's economic development and Sino-French economic co-operation.

The prospects of the information technology (IT) industry and the application of high technologies are the themes of this year's seminar, said Yu Xiaosong, chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT).

Businesses from the two countries were to explore co-operative opportunities and exchange their views on the application of high technologies in finance and commerce and the research and development of electronic linkers, he said.

Eighty French business officials and 200 officials from Chinese IT companies and government departments are taking part in this year's seminar, according to the CCPIT.

State Councillor Wu Yi said she believes the potential for economic co-operation between China and France is huge as China's 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05) stresses development of its west and the country is entering the WTO.

"China and France are two complementary economies. France has advanced and mature technologies in many sectors that China has set down as the priority of its development,'' she said.

Destaing, who headed the French delegation, said China is a major factor in maintaining the stability of the Asian economy.

Tao Jingzhou, a French lawyer based in Beijing and the managing partner of the international law firm Coudert Brothers, expects China's participation in the WTO to help French companies' investment in such sectors as insurance, telecommunications and retail. French companies have extensive expertise in these fields.

Destaing said high and new technologies, dubbed "information technology,'' are a major driving force behind the rapid world economic development of the past few years.

This is the right time to discuss how to make the best use of high technologies while tumbling high-tech stocks dampen the world economic outlook, he said.

Trade between China and France reached record high US$7.7 billion last year, up 14.2 per cent over 1999, according to statistics from the General Administration of Customs. France was China's fourth largest trade partner in the European Union.

France's foreign direct investment in China totalled US$4.5 billion through the end of 2000, ranking third among EU countries, only after Britain and Germany, according to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation.

(China Daily 03/23/2001)

In This Series



Web Link