In China, Macron offers a horse, and a vision to counter Trump

Chinese President and General Secretary of the Communist Party Xi Jinping giving a speech during the introduction of the Communist Party of China's Politburo Standing Committee in Beijing's Great Hall of the People in October last year. Mr Xi has

President Macron was given a tour of Beijing's Forbidden City on Tuesday before a day of business deals with the Chinese leader Mr Jinping.

While no deal has been finalised over the current official visit, Macron said China had assured him it would respect market-share parity between Airbus and Boeing.

China is France's biggest Asian trading partner but the French side reported a 30 billion euro ($36 billion) trade deficit past year.

Paris looks to boost communication and dialogue at a high level and in various fields during this visit, reinforce cooperation in key areas such as aerospace and nuclear power, and introduce a new chapter of bilateral cooperation, Macron said.

A short video Macron posted on social media went viral among Chinese internet users, who were impressed with the French president's efforts to learn a phrase in their language.

In a keynote speech on Monday, Macron urged the European Union to participate in Xi's cherished US$1 trillion Silk Road trade infrastructure project despite misgivings, though he warned that the initiative should not create a "new hegemony".

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Macron, 40, has said Europe should not be "naive" in its trade relations, pushing in Brussels for more stringent anti-dumping rules against imports of cheap Chinese steel.

The 40-year-old has deployed a mix of charm and threats on his first state visit since taking office in May. Also, the emerging "Made in China" plan has also shaken the sales of French products in China.

"China supports France to play a bigger role in the integrity of Europe", said Xi.

"We have an access to markets which is unbalanced, unsatisfying", Macron told members of the French and Chinese business community at an event in Beijing, Reuters reported.

He said: "We need a coordinated European approach that gives China more visibility about our agenda". "We've never been that close to signing a commercial deal", the official said. A position he did not hide during the visit. Others, however, are not as convinced, noting Xi's strong support for state-owned enterprises over the past two years. "It will be hard and take time, because France will be entering a very competitive market already open to the US, Uruguay, Canada and Australia", he said.

If China continues to ignore such calls, however, the relationship is likely to only continue to deteriorate.

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