China and France sign 20 billion dollars in trade deals

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China signed a raft of deals Thursday with French firms totalling at least 20 billion dollars and hopes to double trade between the countries within five years, Chinese ministers said.

China's deputy foreign minister, Fu Ying, revealed the scale of the deals to reporters after talks between presidents Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Hu Jintao of China and on the first day of the latter's state visit to Paris.

European planemaker Airbus signed a deal Thursday to supply 102 airliners to Chinese firms at a cost of 14 billion dollars (around 10 billion euros), Sarkozy's office announced.

Meanwhile, French nuclear giant Areva signed a deal to supply 3.5 billion dollars' (2.46 billion euros') worth of uranium to Chinese power firm CNGPC, Areva chief Anne Lauvergeon told reporters.

She added that Areva had also signed a contract to build a uranium treatment plant in China, but did not cite the amount.

French energy giant Total said it was planning to invest two to three billion euros in a Chinese petrochemical plant.

The signing ceremony took place at Sarkozy's Elysee Palace on the first night of a three-day state visit by Hu that France hopes will result in a massive boost to its industrial and high-tech exports.

© 2010 AFP

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