China's president to visit France in attempt to repair trust with EU

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit France and Italy in May in a bid to improve faltering relations with the European Union, which are impacting EU trade with the world's second-largest economy. Analysts say European companies in China are facing more uncertain business conditions, forcing them to devote more resources to managing ballooning risks.

Trade will be high on the agenda when French President Emmanuel Macron meets his Chinese counterpart in Paris in May, diplomatic sources say.

It will be Xi's first Europe trip in five years amid mounting EU-China tensions. It comes after Macron visited China in April last year.

During that trip, Macron took a softer line with Beijing compared to his EU partners, suggesting in one controversial interview that Brussels should interfere less in Chinese policy.

France is increasingly wary of Beijing's growing assertiveness, especially in the Pacific, where Paris has its own interests in the shape of its overseas territories New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna and French Polynesia. Its 2023 Indo-Pacific Strategy warns against "China’s increasing power and territorial claims" in the region.

But Macron's remarks diverged from the general EU line that China is a "systemic rival".

Impact on business

Xi's visit to France in two months' time may help break the ice.

Read more on RFI English

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