"If Macron is serious about promoting liberty and democracy worldwide, he should arrive with a long list for President Xi and other Chinese leaders".
On a three-day visit to China this week, Macron learned to say "Make our planet great again" in Mandarin, and then delivered the line to a Chinese audience in a speech about multilateralism. In fact, in Southeast Asia and Africa, China already has developed more advanced tools of influence than those exposed in Australia and New Zealand-or even the United States.
"But with French beef consumption falling five percent a year, we have to find new markets", said economy minister Bruno Le Maire, who is travelling with Macron. "We've never been that close to signing a commercial deal", the official said.
But despite bringing with him some of the heaviest hitters in French business, finance and industry - including senior executives from Airbus, BNP Paribas, AccorHotels, EDF and LVMH - there were no immediate announcements of mega-deals. The first contract was signed with the municipality of Sanya in Hainan Province.
TRT World speaks to Joel Flynn in Hong Kong.
"China, which is a great power, does not respect a country that sells its essential infrastructures to the lowest bidder", Macron said.
Macron's meeting with Liu also included discussion about opportunities for more French brands to reach JD.com's 266.3 million customer base. Others, however, are not as convinced, noting Xi's strong support for state-owned enterprises over the past two years. "The A380 is the ideal jet for China in 1993", he said. Accompanied by 50 business leaders, he has sought to recalibrate bilateral relations and narrow a gaping trade deficit. "Let's open up both instead".
Beyond beef, French officials said talks were continuing about China's ban on French poultry, imposed in 2015 after an outbreak of bird flu. As well as aerospace, the agrifood sector is seen as key.
The two governments are expected to announce a Franco-Chinese investment fund of more than 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion). According to Reuters the gift represents "an unprecedented diplomatic gesture".
"The horse's name is Vesuve de Brekka, a French horse from Lower Normandy".
In addition to upping its game, the commentary said, France also needs to cough up technology to keep up in the Chinese market.
"Our beef now has no access (to China) for sanitary reasons".
TRT World's Christine Pirovolakis reports.