It was at Toulouse, on 2 June, that the Chinese Prime Minister concluded his official three-day visit to France. Hours before his arrival a heavy security ring was deployed around the corporate business airport. For Li Keqiang and the accompanying 200 Chinese business leaders, this was a heavyweight financial business trip.
On the day’s programme, was a visit to the Airbus A350 assembly line in the company of French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls. According to the European aircraft manufacturer’s latest predictions, China will need more than 5,300 new commercial aircraft over the next 20 years.
On the occasion of Keqiang Li’s visit, a Chinese state owned company (China Aviation Supplies Holding Company) also formalized an order for 75 Airbus A330’s, a mix of long-haul and regional versions, the amount of which is estimated at $ 18 billion.
Following the customary exchange of courtesies, the manufacturer also initialled an agreement amounting to 150 million dollars with Beijing, to create an A330 cabin fitting-out centre in the city of Tianjin, near an A320 assembly line which has been operational since 2008. Keqiang Li, Prime Minister - People's Republic of China: "This is the fruit of Sino-French cooperation, which benefits not only the balance of bilateral trade, but also creates jobs in both our countries." From the end of 2017, the centre will employ 250 people and deliver two aircraft destined for the Chinese market per month.
Of course, since China likes to share the business around, the Chinese Premier is soon due to travel to the United States together with a scheduled visit to the Boeing plant. New contracts between Boeing and China can be in little doubt.