Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao visits France

Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao visits France

Wang Wentao, the Chinese Minister of Commerce, visiting Paris since Sunday, is due to meet Bruno Le Maire, the French Minister of the Economy, this Monday. At the heart of the discussions: Chinese electric cars.

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Several Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers are under investigation by the European Union (EU), suspected of having benefited from subsidies which would make them much more competitive than their European competitors, something disputed by Beijing which, in turn, accuses the EU of “ protectionism “.

It is with the bosses of the companies BYD, Geely and SAIC, targeted by the Brussels investigation, that the Minister of Commerce is traveling. Wang Wentao, who met the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers and the general director of Renault, Luca de Meo, this weekend, intends to plead the cause of the sector and avoid the increase in customs duties.

Bruno Le Maire, the French Minister of the Economy, promises to be firm without closing the door to more cooperation with this “ essential commercial partner of the France » what does the China : “ We want to maintain very strong commercial relations between China and France, and between China and Europe, but on the basis of a principle of fairness.. »

Investigation into cognac imports

If Bruno Le Maire is performing a balancing act, it is because China is taking retaliatory measures if its electric cars were to be taxed by the European Union. Beijing has opened an anti-subsidy investigation targeting cognac imports. In this context, the International Interprofessional Cognac Bureau confirmed its participation in a meeting with Wang Wentao on Monday, under the aegis of the French Ministry of the Economy, alongside business leaders.

Philippe Aiguinier, professor at the National Institute of Oriental Languages ​​and Civilizations (Inalco) and specialist in the Chinese economy, indicates that the risk would be to enter “ in a spiral of measures and countermeasures: we are not in a game of “gentlemen” but in a very hard game “.

After his visit to France, the Chinese Minister of Commerce must then go to Italy to meet the Minister of Foreign Affairs. As for trade tensions between Brussels and Beijing, they should also be at the heart of the Chinese president’s visit Xi Jinping in Paris next May.

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