On April 25, 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Francois Hollande attended the closing ceremony of the China-France Business Forum held in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing. Xi addressed the ceremony, calling on both sides to grasp opportunities to deepen cooperation and jointly establish a close, long-standing and sustainable economic partnership.
In his address, Xi said economic cooperation constitutes an important part of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and France. In the contemporary world, deepening economic globalization poses both new challenges and new opportunities. China and France are highly complementary to each other economically and there is immense potential for cooperation between the two countries. He urged both sides to view and boost economic cooperation from a strategic perspective and explore new fields and new ways to establish a close, long-standing and sustainable economic partnership.
Xi hoped enterprises from both sides should boost cooperation in energy saving, environment protection, trade of agricultural products, medical care and digital economy in addition to traditional sectors including aviation, nuclear energy and the auto industry. He said China welcomes French investment and encourages Chinese enterprises to invest in France. Pledging that China is willing to import more French products, Xi hoped France will contribute to relaxing EU restrictions on exporting high-tech products to China.
Xi urged the two countries to oppose protectionism, put in place a fairer business environment, settle problems in their cooperation through friendly consultation, eliminate investment barriers, make two-way trade and investment more convenient, and push for the launch of China-EU negotiations on an investment agreement at an early date, so that win-win outcomes can be achieved in their cooperation.
Xi stressed that China and France should strengthen communication and cooperation in multilateral arenas such as the G20 and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), improve coordination on macro economic policies, push for reform of the international monetary and financial system, and contribute to the robust, sustainable and balanced development of the world economy.
At the end of his address, Xi said that, in line with its future development targets, China will continue to prioritize development, carry forward the policy of opening up and adhere to the principles of mutual benefits, win-win cooperation and common development in its relations with the outside world, and constantly expand its open economy. As these targets are pursued, the Chinese economy is expected to maintain forward momentum. Saying that the more China develops, the more opportunities it will bring to the world, he urged French entrepreneurs to grasp the opportunities to expand their market share in China. Xi expressed his conviction that as long as the two countries respect each other and join hands, their economic cooperation will take on new dimensions, generating more benefits to the two peoples and making greater contribution to world economic growth.
For his part, Hollande applauded China's great achievements since the adoption of the policy of reform and opening up over thirty years ago, giving special credit to China’s efforts to expand domestic demand and maintain rapid growth in the wake of the recent international financial crisis. He said his country will grasp the opportunities provided by China’s development, open new areas of cooperation with China, and increase two-way trade and investment in pursuit of common development and prosperity. Reaffirming the French commitment to opposing protectionism, he welcomed Chinese investment in France and encouraged a greater number of French enterprises to enter the Chinese market to share technology and economic benefits. In addition, the French president expressed his country’s appreciation for China’s confidence in and support for Europe's efforts to resolve the debt crisis, saying that France is ready to work with China for stronger China-EU cooperation. Hollande also said that France is fully confident in cooperation with China and will work together with China to push for reform of global economic governance and promote world economic growth.
Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng and French Minister of Foreign Trade Nicole Bricq respectively gave briefings on what the forum has achieved. Both ministers said that businessmen on the two sides are ready to grasp the opportunities to forge ahead and push bilateral economic cooperation to high levels.
With “Cooperative Partnership—New Vitality” as its theme, the forum was attended by around 700 people including Chinese and French government officials, entrepreneurs and representatives from various sectors.