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France says it’s diverging with Washington on Beijing ties

French Minister for the Economy and Finances Bruno Le Maire spoke at a CNBC panel in Davos.

Ludovic Marin | Afp | Getty Images

DAVOS, Switzerland — The European Union does not see eye-to-eye with the United States when it comes to opposing China, the French finance minister told CNBC Friday.

Speaking at a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, looking at the economic outlook, France’s Bruno Le Maire said: “China cannot be out, China must be in. This is the difference of view we have between the U.S. and Europe.”

“We don’t want to oppose China, we want to engage with China, we want China to obey by the same rules,” he said, “this is our policy.”

The United States has taken a confrontational approach with China particularly when it comes to the technology sector. The European Union, however, has looked at striking a balance between its political friendship with the U.S. and its economic ties with China.

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Though European officials have said China is a strategic rival, they also recognize they want to develop commercial ties with Beijing and work together against climate change.

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

Data from Europe’s 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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