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Sino-French Trade Develops Rapidly

Economic co-operation between China and France has a great deal of potential because China's top priority fields are France's strength, according to a Chinese trade official.

France compares favourably with other countries in the aviation, aerospace, energy, transportation and telecommunications industries, as well as in environmental protection and agriculture.

These fields correspond with the industries that China has prioritized for its economic development.

"It will be helpful for China's economic development to enhance trade and economic co-operation with France, to attract more French investment into China and to introduce French technologies," said Han Tiecheng, a Chinese business counsellor in France.

Bilateral trade between China and France has developed rapidly in recent years.

It reached a record high last year, when the volume of trade reached US$6.7 billion, up 11.2 per cent from the previous year, according to statistics from the General Administration of Customs.

In the first eight months of this year, China's exports to France increased 30.4 per cent compared to the same period last year to reach US$2.386 billion, but imports decreased 0.4 per cent to US$2.301 billion, official statistics showed.

The proportion of machinery and electronic products, such as information processing equipment, air conditioners and audio and video equipment, in China's exports to France has been continually increasing.

Han said French consumers benefit a lot from these imports from China and called for the French Government to get rid of its trade barriers, discriminatory anti-dumping rules and quota limitations and create a fair market environment for made-in-China products.

France is one of the countries that has lent generously to China.

Till the end of last year, France has granted China 12.2 billion francs (US$1.56 billion) in loans. The loans were used on over 130 projects dealing with energy, telecommunications, transportation, raw materials, machinery, medicare and environmental protection.

"In recent years, French companies have also been very active in investing in China," said Han.

France is China's 10th largest investor. By the end of this June, France had directly invested US$3.941 billion in 1,650 projects in China, official statistics showed. Promised capital reaches US$5.358 billion.

China's pending entry into the World Trade Organization and the country's current efforts to develop its western regions mean that there are vast business opportunities for French investors, said Han.

He suggested that French companies increase their investment in technology-intensive and capital-intensive industries and be more open-minded in the transfer of technology to China.

(China Daily)

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