Chinese roll out red carpet for France’s President

Screen shot 2013-04-25 at 10.18.19 AMWhen France’s President arrives in Beijing on Thursday the Chinese government will roll out the red carpet, in striking contrast to the open aversion it has shown towards Britain for the past year.

François Hollande will meet newly installed Chinese President Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, premier, along with other top Communist Party officials during a two-day visit that analysts and diplomats say is partly aimed at applying pressure on London.

The UK government has been in China’s diplomatic deep-freeze since May last year when David Cameron, UK prime minister, met the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, who is reviled by the Chinese government.

Since that meeting, top Chinese officials have cancelled planned visits to the UK and the only formal ministerial contact was between Simon Burns, former health minister, and one of China’s six vice-ministers of health last August.

The only other high-level contact came when a British minister informally met another Chinese vice-minister.

Officials say the British government would like to have annual reciprocal prime ministerial visits between the two countries but after Wen Jiabao, the then-premier, visited the UK in 2011, Mr Cameron did not go to China last year and is not expected to receive an invitation any time soon.

Mr Cameron has not officially sought a meeting with the new Chinese administration and British officials deny there has been a “snub”.

But Downing Street is fully aware that he is not top of Beijing’s list of welcome guests, even though he would like to visit China this year as part of his “commercial” foreign policy and to drum up business for Britain’s struggling economy.

Last May, China’s foreign ministry angrily denounced Mr. Cameron’s decision to meet the Dalai Lama in London. It said the meeting “seriously interfered with China’s internal affairs” and “hurt Chinese feelings”.

Both Paris and Berlin have been subjected to Chinese fury during the last decade after their leaders met the Dalai Lama, but the anger towards the UK has lasted longer than in both those cases, analysts and diplomats say.

Although governmental ties have been virtually cut off, the political dispute appears to have had little impact on China’s appetite for British goods.

Last year Chinese imports from Britain increased 15.5 per cent, more than the 8.8 per cent increase in Chinese imports from the US or the 0.4 per cent increase in Chinese imports from the European Union as a whole.

A decade ago Britain was China’s fourth-largest trading partner and its economy was still bigger than China’s.

But China is now bigger than the UK by almost any measure and Beijing’s stance on issues it regards as core interests has hardened considerably.

President Hollande’s visit to China will be a welcome chance to show himself on the international stage after a torrid month at home where he has been beset by a damaging political scandal and mounting concern about the state of the underperforming French economy.

His approval ratings have dropped to as low as 26 per cent following the revelation that his former budget minister lied about holding a tax-dodging Swiss bank account.

With a big trade deficit bearing witness to France’s diminished international competitiveness, Mr Hollande will be looking to enhance opportunities in China for the country’s big companies, which range from luxury goods, through energy and infrastructure to cars.

Source : Financial Times

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Thomas D’Innocenzi is a highly accomplished, results-focused international consultant with extensive experience in global sourcing and business development worldwide to meet evolving business needs. Tom has proven ability in implementing and managing profitable global marketing and sourcing operations. He has extensive experience in international business development to accommodate rapid growth. Skilled in building top-performing teams, bench-marking performance, and developing organizations to improve efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Experienced transition leader and change agent. Tom founded Nova Advisors with the mission of providing expert Global Business Development consulting services for companies seeking to expand their market share as an independent consultant. Tom has a network of experts and advisors throughout the Asia-Pacific region and North America. His expertise includes business development, global sourcing, manufacturing, commodities, logistics, QA/QC, FDA, regulatory compliance, sustainability, and supply chain optimization. Tom is experienced in the medical device, apparel, consumer goods and technology services verticals helping companies advance their global sourcing capabilities and develop new markets through a local and sustained approach. Located in SE Asia and the United States, Tom expands market reach to drive sales. His global sourcing strategy includes directly negotiating with commodity suppliers, supply chain networks and distributors for optimal terms based on his expertise and first-hand knowledge of the players. Contact Tom to use his consulting service to increase your global market and make global sourcing profitable for you in the Asia Pacific Region and the United States. http://www.NovaAdvisors.com thomas@NovaAdvisors.com USA Direct: +1.904.479.3600 SINGAPORE: +65.6818.6396 THAILAND: +662.207.9269
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