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Macron urges China to open market wider

AP  |  Beijing 

French urged Chinese leaders today to open their markets wider and warned lack of action might prompt other countries to close their own markets.

Macron's comments in a speech to Chinese and French entrepreneurs were a rare sobering note during a visit in which both governments appeared eager to promote closer relations.

The trip comes at a time when Britain's impending departure from the and US Donald Trump's more inward-looking policies have opened up the prospect of a realignment of global influence.

pointed to France's 30 billion euro ($36 billion) trade deficit with last year and warned it was politically unsustainable. Such warnings are common among economists and political analysts, but it is unusual for a in to address a potentially divisive issue so directly.

"If we don't deal with this responsibly, the natural reaction, the one we've had for too long, will be to close up on both sides," the French said.

Macron's visit was billed by his government as aimed at expanding French and European relations with He said earlier he hoped to forge a wide-ranging partnership on climate and other issues.

In a meeting with Li Keqiang, China's top economic official, said the two sides have the potential to develop cooperation in an array of areas including scientific research, health and agriculture.

The two sides also need to "settle on an economic and geopolitical plan for the affairs of our world," Macron told Li.

On Monday, President welcomed Macron in unusually effusive language, declaring and "great countries with splendid histories." He said their interaction had "deep historical significance for the world."

Despite their public warmth, Macron's visit is overshadowed by mounting trade tensions.

had looked to as an ally in the European Union. opposed demands by other governments for tougher anti-dumping action against low-cost Chinese imports. Its departure might increase pressure on China to find new allies within the trade bloc.

had promoted itself as a platform for Chinese businesses in but its appeal might be eroded by the reduction in access to the remaining EU members. That might lead Chinese companies to divert investment to France, or other bloc members.

A key issue for Macron, invoked several times during his visit, is reciprocity, or obtaining the same level of access for European and other foreign companies to China's state- dominated economy as Chinese companies enjoy abroad.

Macron, traveling with a French business delegation, wanted to secure deals that might produce greater access to China's growing market.

British is to visit this month as part of her government's effort to nurture a new global role following its departure from the EU in 2019.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 09 2018. 18:25 IST