French President Emmanuel Macron will have a difficult balancing act to pull off during his visit to China this week, according to Bloomberg, as he aims to charm his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping while also threatening to make life tougher for him.
Macron arrives in China Monday. During his first trip to Asia since his election last year, the French president is expected to prioritize winning orders for Airbus SE and putting pressure on China to allow greater reciprocal market access to foreign businesses. This latter demand may be a difficult sell in Beijing due to Europe’s greater willingness to block outside investments from Chinese companies on national security grounds.
Macron is likely to press Xi to resolve the contradiction between the Chinese president’s frequent championing of globalization and the Chinese market’s continued lack of openness in certain sectors. “The best Macron can do to help the European and French economies is to take Xi at his word on free trade and globalization and push relentlessly for more reciprocity,” said Francoise Nicolas, director of Asian studies at the Institute for Foreign Relations in Paris.
Airbus will discuss a large plane order from China during Macron’s visit, according to people familiar with the plans. The size of the order is yet to be confirmed. Reuters earlier reported that the company was hoping to sell at least 100 planes to Chinese carriers.