This year marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of China-France diplomatic ties and France is a guest country of honor at the Second CIIE. Last year, the 69 French enterprises taking part in the expo notched up transactions worth $1.51 billion.
This year, there was impetus for them from the top level, from the presidents of both countries. On October 15, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron had a telephone conversation where Xi said China stands ready to work with people around the world, including France, to advance the building of a community with a shared future for humanity. He also said China will continue to pursue the strategy of opening up based on mutual benefit.
Gao Yuanyuan, Counselor at the Office of Economic and Commercial Affairs of the Chinese Embassy in France, said there was a high level of interest among French companies in the CIIE.
"French government organizations came to us during the past two years to ask detailed questions about the CIIE, which showed their in-depth research on the event. The French Government attaches high importance to it," she said.
"The CIIE serves as an important window for us to participate in and share the opportunities of China's stable economic growth," Zou Chunyi, Vice President of Greater China Public Affairs at Danone, a French food corporation, told Beijing Review.
"While offering a capacious trading platform for global partners, it accommodates premium imported goods from all over the world, which is conducive to generating new demands, stimulating consumption and upgrading and satisfying people's ever-growing needs for a better life."
French beef producers have embraced the CIIE to reach the Chinese market after a long prohibition on beef imports. In 2001, China announced the first ban on European imports due to the outbreak of the mad cow disease. In 2003, the U.S. also came under the ban. But the restriction began to be eased in recent years
"Last year, French Minister of Agriculture and Food Didier Guillaume announced the return of French beef to China at the CIIE," Meng Fanye, chief Chinese representative of the French Pig Federation and French Livestock and Meat Industry Association, told Beijing Review. "This year marks the real return from a market perspective."
On January 16, beef processing, sales and e-commerce companies from China signed a cooperation agreement with French beef production and breeding companies, which marked its official entrance into the Chinese market.
The French enthusiasm has shown again how foreign enterprises can benefit from China's huge market and their confidence in long-term development in China.
"French meat companies choose China for its market potential and its importance to the world," Meng said. "France has been cautious about where to export. French companies choose China based on years of study and consideration and they have plans for long-term cooperation and development."
Especially for the French beef market, he said although there are challenges as 90 percent of China's imported beef is from countries like Uruguay and Brazil, French companies are coming to China not for a quick huge profit but for stable and solid growth.
Copyedited by Sudeshna Sarkar
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