France, China in $22.8b trade deal

By Angela Doland
Associated Press / November 5, 2010

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PARIS — France announced $22.8 billion in deals yesterday to sell uranium, technology, and more than 100 Airbus planes to China, and the two countries also agreed to a sweeping strategic partnership on nuclear power.

Chinese President Hu Jintao’s three-day state visit to France opened with a red carpet welcome, as well as a flurry of deals that made clear how much the countries’ ties have improved.

It was a turnaround from the tense relations of two years ago, when French President Nicolas Sarkozy threatened to boycott the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics out of anger about China’s treatment of Tibet.

The deal expands on 30 years of nuclear cooperation between China and France, which gets about three-quarters of its electricity from nuclear power.

Sarkozy and Hu looked on as business leaders signed contract after contract.

The Airbus deal alone — which will see airlines including Air China, China Eastern, and China Southern buy 102 of the European consortium’s A320, A330, and A350 models — is worth around $14 billion.

France’s Areva nuclear engineering firm said it would sell China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp. 20,000 tons of uranium over a decade. The contract is worth around $3.5 billion.

Cooperation is cultural as well: Paris’s Louvre Museum and Beijing’s Forbidden City agreed to work together on temporary exhibits and to share conservation and restoration techniques.