Bruno Le Maire in Beijing: France hopes to see China invest more, especially in electricity

2023-07-30 12:26:37

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said in Beijing on Sunday that cutting all economic ties with China was ” An illusion “, while some Western countries are questioning their economic dependence on the Asian giant.

« We are totally opposed to the idea of ​​decoupling. Decoupling is an illusion “, affirmed Bruno Le Maire. ” It is impossible to sever all ties between the American and European economies and that of China “, underlined the minister, who spoke in English in front of the international press at the French embassy in Beijing.

“Avoid any misunderstanding”

Bruno Le Maire, however, defended the ambition of greater economic independence from France in certain specific sectors.

The concept of risk reduction (“de-risking”), popular in recent months with many Western countries, “ does not mean that China is a risk “, made a point of specifying Bruno Le Maire, wishing “ avoid any misunderstanding ».

« It means we want to be more independent (…) We do not want to realize, as we did during the Covid crisis, that we are too dependent on certain very specific components. »

These remarks come at a time when several Western countries claim to want to reduce their economic dependence on China, especially Germany for whom the country is its first trading partner and a vital market for its powerful automotive sector.

Some American officials defend such an idea, in a context of tensions with Beijing. In a world of intertwined economies, it is a ” false proposal “, had judged in June the Chinese Prime Minister, Li Qiang.

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Opening an electric vehicle factory?

Bruno Le Maire is in China for the high-level Franco-Chinese economic and financial dialogue, an annual bilateral meeting devoted to these strategic issues.

The French Minister of the Economy will travel Monday to Shenzhen (south), a large metropolis bordering Hong Kong and considered the “Chinese Silicon Valley”.

There he will meet Chinese investors and big bosses, including that of the car manufacturer BYD, which is considering opening an electric vehicle factory in Europe.

« I tell you with great frankness: Chinese investors are welcome in France, particularly in the field of electric vehicles, batteries and the energy transition. “, had indicated the French minister on Saturday. Bruno Le Maire was speaking following a meeting with He Lifeng, Chinese Vice-Premier in charge of economic and financial issues. The latter said he hoped that France ” will provide a fairer, just and non-discriminatory trading environment ».

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