Macron Visits China Echoing Trump’s Call for More Market Access

Macron Visits China Echoing Trump’s Call for More Market Access

French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in China on Monday for a state visit that will test his ability to simultaneously woo his host, President Xi Jinping, while threatening to make life harder for him.

Macron, 40, sets out on his first trip to Asia since winning office last year bearing a call for greater reciprocal market access. That’s a request he must reconcile with his pursuit of a more economically sovereign Europe willing to block outside investments.

To western governments including France’s, Xi’s public defense of globalization has yet to translate into serious attempts to open up China to foreign companies. Macron is likely to reference the paradox in a speech at the start of his tour in the symbolic setting of the ancient imperial capital of Xian, the eastern departure point of the Silk Road trade route.

Photographer: Ian Langsdon/AFP via Getty Images

“The best Macron can do to help the European and French economies is to take Xi at his word on free trade and globalization and push relentlessly for more reciprocity,” said Francoise Nicolas, the director of Asian studies at the Institute for Foreign Relations in Paris.

Pushing hard is still no guarantee of success. President Donald Trump made similar demands during his own state visit to Beijing in November, and left town with little in terms policy assurances — albeit financial services were a notable exception. The U.S. is now counting on Europe to help provide a united front against China on trade.

Naive Europe

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