Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan walk past an honor guard upon their arrival at Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle airport near Paris, France, Monday, March 25, 2019. Chinese President Xi Jinping is on a 3-day state visit in France where he is expected to sign a series of bilateral and economic deals on energy, the food industry, transport and other sectors. (Philippe Lopez/Pool Photo via AP)

Chinese leader Xi in France to sign multibillion deals

March 25, 2019 - 10:48 am

PARIS (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping was expected to sign multibillion-dollar deals Monday on energy, the food industry, transport and other sectors as well as a bilateral statement on climate change during a state visit to France.

Xi was being welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris, before a meeting and a state dinner at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris.

A top official at the French presidency said about 30 deals were expected to be signed in a ceremony at the Elysee, half of them business contracts —for a global amount reaching multibillion dollars— and others being bilateral agreements.

China last year opened its market for French beef products following Macron's state visit in the country in January 2018. France now expects similar opening for its poultry industry, the official said. Other expected deals involve French companies specialized in transports, renewable energy and city infrastructures.

The official was speaking anonymously in accordance with the presidency's practices ahead of the formal signature of the deals.

Announcements were also expected in the field of culture, including the opening of a branch of Paris modern art museum, the Pompidou Center, in Shanghai this fall.

France also seeks China's cooperation on climate diplomacy in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump's skepticism. The presidency's top official said China was about to make substantial commitments, especially favoring its green investments abroad.

The Chinese leader, who previously visited Italy and Monaco to sign deals and meet officials, arrived in France on Sunday evening where he had a private dinner with Macron in the resort town of Beaulieu-sur-Mer on the French Riviera.

Xi will also meet in Paris on Tuesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Europe wants to increase its trade with China but on European terms, especially amid U.S.-China trade tensions.

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