France says it disagrees with Washington over Beijing ties

French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire spoke at a CNBC panel in Davos.

Ludovic Marin | Afp | Getty Images

DAVOS, Switzerland — The European Union is not face to face with the United States when it comes to opposition to China, France’s finance minister told CNBC on Friday.

Speaking at a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, France’s Bruno Le Maire, looking at the economic outlook, said: “China can’t get out, China has to get in. This is the difference of opinion we have between the US and Europe.”

“We don’t want to be against China, we want to work with China, we want China to play by the same rules,” he said, “this is our policy.”

Particularly in the technology sector, the United States has taken a confrontational stance towards China. However, the European Union has sought to strike a balance between its political friendship with the US and its economic ties with China.

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While European officials have said China is a strategic rival, they also acknowledge they want to develop commercial ties with Beijing and cooperate on climate change.

French President Emmanuel Macron is reportedly planning a trip to China in the coming weeks to discuss energy and trade, as well as the wider fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Data from the European Statistics Office showed that China was the third largest partner for EU exports of goods in 2021, and the largest partner for imports.

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