France woos Chinese investors

TOULOUSE: French Prime Minister Manuel Valls promised Chinese investors ‘the best welcome in all of Europe’ as his Beijing counterpart wrapped up a visit in which he signed billions of euros in accords with France.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang inked over 50 deals on his three-day visit to France which rolled out the red carpet in a bid to boost ties with the Asian giant and breathe life back into its own struggling economy.

Paris used the opportunity to try to lure more Chinese investors and rebalance trade between the two countries. In 2013, Paris ran a 26 billion euro deficit with China.

“Today, I want to send this message to Chinese business leaders: Come and set up in France,” Valls told a Franco-Chinese summit in the southern city of Toulouse, promising ‘the best welcome in all of Europe’.

Li wrapped up his visit in Toulouse with a visit to the headquarters of European aerospace giant Airbus, after a Chinese company placed an order for 45 A330s with an option for 30 more in a deal worth $18 billion.

The massive sale is linked to a deal in which Airbus will set up a centre at its base in the northeastern Chinese city of Tianjin.