China, France to seek stronger trade ties

Updated 2018-01-08 14:31:05

French dairy farmers who have gone out of business since the end of EU milk quotas two years ago have found a solution in China.

In France, a third of the farmers earn less than 400 U.S. dollars per month from dairy farming.

"We've had a surplus of milk in Europe for two years, so the prices are low," Gerard Carard, an economist from French National Dairy Board said. "China is now our biggest export market, and it supports the industry while the domestic market is declining."

A Chinese firm has opened the world's biggest baby milk plant in northern France, processing 300 million liters of milk into powder a year – that's the whole output of 700 farms.

And it's not just baby milk – the Chinese consumer is increasingly getting a taste for French gastronomy, including cheese and butter-heavy croissants.

The French economy minister recently said France is looking to China and Russia to counterbalance increasingly uncertain trade ties with the US and the UK.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who will pay a state visit to China in the first year of his presidency, showed he's making China a priority – not only to build trade relations but also to work with Beijing on key regional issues like the DPRK.

"I am counting on China and Russia, which are the two international powers that today can take strong decisions on sanctions that have an impact, a real effect on North Korea (DPRK) and can lead it back to the negotiating table," the French president said.

Macron can expect a warm welcome – the young president and his wife Brigitte are popular on Chinese social media.

Brigitte Macron is godmother to the first baby panda born in France, Yuan Meng, born last year.

The cute cub has already won over the French public, and Macron will be hoping he makes as many fans in China.

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