China and France vowed to uphold multilateralism and free trade and build an open global economy, as President Xi Jinping nears a phase one trade deal with the US.
Xi’s comments came during a three-day visit to China by President Emmanuel Macron. “Together, we sent a strong signal to the world to firmly uphold multilateralism and free trade and build an open world economy. Your speech also aroused strong repercussions and resonance in China,” Xi said as the two leaders met in Beijing. Macron was slated to speak with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and attend a state banquet hosted by Xi later in the day.
“I am willing to work with you to face towards the world, the future, to cater to our people, to promote the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and France to a higher level, and continue to be at the forefront of the relationship between major powers,” he said.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Bloomberg that Democrats would be tougher on China than Trump by aligning with the EU to bring additional pressure on the world’s second-largest economy.
She said Trump was correct to identify China’s aggressive trade policy as a threat to the US, but she faulted his approach as ineffective and said he’s further hobbled the US position by engaging in a trade conflict with the EU at the same time.
Macron said he’d told Xi he hoped US-China trade tensions would calm down. He also stressed that France welcomes foreign investment and would not target individual countries.
“This European sovereignty we build it for ourselves, something that China has always done for itself too,” Macron said. “This is the goal of the strategic agenda for investments and critical infrastructures.
This European sovereignty is not being build against others, foreign investments are welcomed in Europe, without discrimination, in full respect with our interests in sovereignty and security.”
Macron said earlier this week that China and the European Union will sign an accord to protect products that have a specific geographical origin in a bid to fight counterfeits. He said the accord would be signedin Beijing.
The EU is China’s largest trade partner, and the Chinese market is the second biggest after the US for exports from the bloc.
“I know how committed you are to the European Union and we must build a stable partnership on the big questions of the world in a world that is more and more destabilised,“ Macron told Xi. “The capacity we will have to reform the WTO, to avoid trade tensions is absolutely defining.“
Earlier this year, Europe claimed a diplomatic victory in the push for Beijing to pursue fairer economic policies, saying a laboriously drafted joint statement signaled important Chinese concessions over curbing subsidies to domestic industries and facilitating market access for foreign companies.
The European Union bloc has sought to enlist Beijing’s help on numerous fronts as US President Donald Trump has turned his back on international organizations and agreements that had counted on staunch US support.