President Xi Jinping holds talks, joint press conference with Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that China will finalise orders for 184 Airbus SE A320 family aircrafts during his official state visit to China.

A key issue for Macron, invoked several times during his visit, is reciprocity, or obtaining the same level of access for European and other foreign companies to China's state-dominated economy as Chinese companies enjoy overseas.

A lack of competitiveness is the main reason for France's trade deficit with China. "And China won't respect a continent, a power, when some member states let their doors freely open". It's more open than the Chinese market itself.

Greece, for example, has sold the port of Piraeus to China and is a major recipient of Chinese largesse.

The two presidents met again on Tuesday at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, and oversaw the signing of bilateral agreements, including the framework deals for Airbus and Areva in China.

French President Emmanuel Macron sat down with CGTN to discuss Chinese-French relations, the Belt & Road Initiative, and the way forward for Europe.

Ninety percent of China's beef imports come now from Brazil, Uruguay, Australia and New Zealand. Macron, who travelled with senior executives from Airbus, BNP Paribas, AccorHotels, EDF and LVMH, played down the absence of blockbuster deals.

Ahead of Macron's trip, sources had told Reuters that Airbus was in talks about an order for 100 or more jets.

"In the new era, we should follow the spirit of being responsible for history, stick to the right path so as to move toward a bright future of China-French ties".

China has become a battleground for Airbus and Boeing as the manufacturing titans seek to dominate an aviation market expected to overtake the become the world's biggest as early as 2022.

China has also moved away from the hub-and-spoke model for which the A380 was designed, choosing instead to connect regional airports directly with foreign cities, said Richard Aboulafia, vice president at Teal Group Corp., an aerospace consultancy. "The idea wasn't we should expect results, because we're laying the ground to make our relationship more sound, more balanced".

Vanessa Coleman