France and China are interested in expanding their cooperation to win markets in Africa or Asia, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Friday as he confirmed Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's upcoming visit to Paris.
"It is taken for granted that (Li) will travel to Paris and Toulouse at the end of June, start of July," the French minister said during his 10th visit to China.
Fabius met Li in Beijing Friday in the Zhongnanhai government enclave, near the Forbidden City, to discuss topics for the Chinese leader's trip.
It would in particular include "the development of joint projects in third markets, be they Asian or African markets," said Fabius.
China faces serious industrial overcapacity and slowing domestic demand, which are pushing its companies to expand their markets.
It could benefit from the expertise of French groups in markets where they are long-established.
The two countries also intend to strengthen cooperation in "food, health, services, finance," the minister said.
French investment in China jumped 29.8 percent year-on-year in the first four months of 2015, Beijing said Friday, and Chinese investment in France has thrived, as evidenced by the acquisition of the iconic Club Med by Chinese conglomerate Fosun.
"The volume of trade has also grown," said Fabius.
France, however, still has a colossal trade deficit of around 26 billion euros ($30 billion) a year, "it is obviously necessary to gradually reduce it", he said.
In a meeting Friday with Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng, Fabius also "recalled French expectations in aviation cooperation," according to an official source.
European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, based in Toulouse, has a Chinese medium-haul A320 assembly plant and has discussed with its Chinese partners an expansion of their industrial cooperation on the long-haul A330.