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French Business Community in Beijing Supports Macron's Trade Efforts

French President Emmanuel Macron's recent visit to Beijing with a 50-member business delegation has sparked both support and criticism as he seeks to strengthen trade ties with China amid ongoing tensions.

Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron

Macron Leads Business Delegation to China

French President Emmanuel Macron recently traveled to Beijing with a 50-member business delegation, including Airbus, Alstom, and EDF CEOs. This move has raised eyebrows among some diplomats, who worry that the delegation's size could dilute the West's message of firmness amid heightened tensions between China and the United States.

Macron Rejects "Inescapable Spiral" of Tension

At the French embassy's gardens, Macron addressed the French community and expressed his opposition to an "inescapable spiral" of tension that would lead to severing ties with China. The French business community in Beijing largely embraced his stance.

Business Leaders Appreciate Presidential Support

Thierry de la Tour d'Artaise, chairman of French appliance group SEB, praised Macron's visit, saying it demonstrated support for the business community and was critical in dealing with Chinese authorities. De la Tour d'Artaise emphasized the importance of France making its own decisions and being responsible for them.

Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron

Macron's Delegation Size Criticized

Despite the support, the size of Macron's business delegation has been criticized by some, including left-wing European parliament member Raphael Glucksmann. Glucksmann argued that the visit's focus on signing contracts was inopportune during ongoing European debates about dependency on China and Chinese interference.

Macron Defends Business Opportunities in China

In response to the criticism, Macron rejected the idea that there was a contradiction between European leaders' call to "de-risk" their relationship with China and his business push. He argued that strategic autonomy doesn't mean isolation and that there are still business opportunities in sectors where national security isn't a risk.

Challenges for French Businesses in China

Operating in China still presents challenges for French businesses, as some ex-pats have noted the pressure to transfer technology. However, despite these difficulties, they have achieved significant accomplishments in the Chinese market.