French President Emmanuel Macron to attend Shanghai import expo as EU continues push for China trade agreement
- Incoming EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan will attend next week’s event
- French leader is also expected to meet Xi Jinping in Beijing to discuss climate and trade
Macron’s visit to the expo, which runs from November 5-10, will be tied with an official state visit and a stop in Beijing, where he is expected to discuss climate and trade issues with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
Hogan, the current EU agriculture commissioner, is also visiting China’s two largest cities, and is expected to take over as the bloc’s trade chief once the new commission is confirmed.
Both Macron and Hogan are likely to push for the completion of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, which has been under discussion for the past six years.
Both sides pledged to complete the deal by the end of next year at the annual EU-China summit in April and the EU delegation in Beijing said talks were now taking place on a monthly basis.
Last week, during a visit to France, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said he was “very confident” that the deal would be completed on time.
Beyond pushing for the agreement, Macron is expected to promote French companies and seek to reduce the country’s €29.2 billion (US$32.5 billion) trade deficit with China.
One possible market is China’s rapidly growing appetite for luxury brands, which hit US$115 billion last year and is expected to grow to US$170 billion by 2025, according to a report by McKinsey.
The complete list of foreign government leaders attending the Expo is not finalised, though Macron and Hogan will be joined by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic.
For last year’s inaugural event the EU called for a more “genuine open and level playing field” for European companies in China.
It issued a list of 10 policy requests to further open up China’s markets, including a call for greater transparency and an end to unfair subsidies.