France is to join with China to build seven infrastructure projects around the world with a combined value of more than $1.7bn.
The deal followed an online meeting between presidents Emmanuel Macron and Xi Jinping, held on 16 February as part of the two countries’ Third-Party Market Cooperation agreement.
A statement from China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said the seven projects, which it did not name, would be constructed in Africa, Southeast Asia and Central and Eastern Europe and would cover infrastructure, environmental protection and energy. The countries would jointly finance these schemes, which the NDRC said would “play an active role in promoting the economic and social development of the third countries”.
According to the NDRC, France is the first country to establish this kind of intergovernmental cooperation mechanism with China.
It added that French companies “excel at advanced manufacturing, environment protection engineering construction”, whereas Chinese companies had “accumulated rich experience in infrastructure construction, energy, equipment manufacturing and the internet”.
The agreement makes up the fourth round of the China-France Third-Party Market Cooperation agreement, a deal that was first proposed in 2015.
Economic relations between France and China have been growing steadily over the past 25 years, with trade increasing by an average annual rate of around 10%.