Macron woos Xi with French wine and beef in drive for China trade

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By Luke Hurst  with Reuters
Macron and Xi clink glasses during the French president's state visit to China
Macron and Xi clink glasses during the French president's state visit to China   -  Copyright  REUTERS

Emmanuel Macron has shown China's president Xi Jinping the delights of French wine and beef during his three-day state visit to the Asian superpower.

The French President arrived in Beijing on Monday for the visit which has so far covered the issues of climate change and trade.

The two leaders agreed to the "irreversibility" of the Paris climate agreement on Monday.

And on Tuesday Macron and Xi clinked glasses at the Import Expo in Shanghai, as the focus turned to trade and French culture.

"I felt that he was discovering Languedoc wine, that he didn't know it, that he appreciated it," said Macron. "He tasted the three meats, so Charentaise, Limousine and Salers have good days in China, I hope the Chinese market will take them over".

China lifted a 17-year embargo on French beef exports in January 2018, and Macron has used his visit to call for improved access to the Chinese market for French producers.

Following the Import Expo, Macron inaugurated a satellite location of the Centre Pompidou modern art museum, heralded by organisers as the largest French-Chinese cultural exchange in history.

Located in Shanghai's modern West Bund cultural zone, the satellite will be called the Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum Project.

The state visit is the third time the French president and his Chinese counterpart have met so far this year.