France is hoping to reinforce its strategic partnership in nuclear energy and aeronautics with China, and also aims to tap into China's huge market for agricultural products, French Minister for Foreign Trade Nicole Bricq said Monday at a press conference during a three-day visit to China.
"We are going to visit the construction sites of Taishan nuclear reactors 1 and 2 in Guangdong tomorrow," said Bricq.
She said that the French European pressurized reactor (EPR) project in Guangdong Province will be the first EPR for power production to be completed, given the postponement of similar projects in Finland and France.
"It will serve as an illustration (of new French nuclear technology) to the whole world," she said.
Areva, a French industrial conglomerate known for its nuclear projects, sold two EPR nuclear reactors to China in November 2007 for 8 billion euros ($10.65 billion), the largest international commercial contract signed in civil nuclear history.
Bricq said she had met her Chinese counterpart Chen Deming Monday and discussed topics including obstacles to market access.
"French enterprises need to know more about Chinese practices. China is not a particularly difficult market to enter," she told the Global Times Monday.
France hopes to export more milk products, meat and agricultural machinery to China in an effort to address the balance of trade, she said.
France had a trade deficit of $2.78 billion with China in 2012, according to China's customs data, with China's exports to France declining by 10.3 percent while its imports from France increased by 9.3 percent year-on-year.
Bricq is the second high-ranking French official to visit China this month, following French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici's visit one week ago. Both had the same mission - to prepare for the upcoming visit of French President Francois Hollande to China this spring.